Big Four Railroad Bridge

  • 01 of 04

    Bridge Open to Pedestrians and Bicyclists

    Image © Mali Anderson

    The Big Four Railroad Bridge opened to an anticipatory crowd of walkers and bicyclists in February, 2013. The pedestrian bridge is an integral part of the Waterfront Park master plan. The 1895 railroad bridge, which extends over the Ohio River, linking Louisville, Kentucky to Jeffersonville, Indiana, was closed and abandoned for years, but is now open for all to enjoy.

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  • 02 of 04

    Where Do I Get On?

    Image © Mali Anderson

    Visitors can only gain access to the bridge via a spiral ramp on the Louisville side of the bridge or the walkway and stairs on the Indiana side. When the weather is nice, plenty of visitors ascend the Kentucky side, stroll or bike the bridge, and stroll or snack on the Indiana side. It’s a pleasant, invigorating way to enjoy the Ohio River. And you can wave to passengers on the Belle of Louisville. 

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  • 03 of 04

    A Brief History of the Big Four Bridge

    Image © Mali Anderson

    The bridge is named after the Big Four Railroad, a conglomeration of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railways. The company served the rail needs of the Midwest region and originally used the bridge. A fun fact about Louisville, is that it has a history as a travel hub.

    Construction began in 1888 and there were troubles along the way. The bridge was completed in 1895, but eventually, in 1929, an updated bridge was built within the frame of the original bridge. The bridge changed hands as power in the railroad industry shifted and was ultimately closed in the late ‘60s. After the ramps were destroyed, the trusses sat abandoned. Since the bridge was no longer accessible, some began calling it “the bridge to nowhere.

    Once you have climbed the ramp to the bridge, a commemorative plaque explains how “forty-two workers perished during construction of this bridge, which was built between 1888 and 1895. Through the years, the bridge has been hailed as a monument to those who lost their lives.”

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  • 04 of 04

    Open All Day, Everyday

    Image © Mali Anderson

    The bridge spans nearly a mile and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are lights on the bridge and some say there will be additional, and fancier, lights added once more money is raised. For safety reasons the bridge does close during bad weather and, of course, during Thunder Over Louisville.​