Big Dam Bridge celebrating 10-year anniversary

Big Dam Bridge celebrates 10 years

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A staple in Central Arkansas, which brings together two cities, celebrates 10 years Thursday. The Big Dam Bridge (BDB) rings in a milestone of existence.

The bridge though is a milestone in and of itself, known as the longest pedestrian and bike bridge in North America. The effort to work out on something this mighty is worth it.

“4,235 feet, something like that,” said Buddy Villine, former Pulaski County Judge, who led the BDB project for 8 years, from conception to opening.

Big Dam Bridge is marking 10 years of biking, walking, and sightseeing.

“It probably made me healthier but gave me a few cramps at night after a while,” said Curt Wilson, who walks the BDB frequently.

Three friends; Kelly Abernathy, Alexis Seibert, and Katy Raines challenged each other on a run across the BDB on Wednesday.

“You get this beautiful view of the river and when you're running over the top, then you get that nice cold breeze,” said Rains.

Seibert said, “It's great for walking my dog because she gets a lot of socialization.”

From the top of the bridge, it might be one of the best views of another Arkansas landmark, Pinnacle Mountain. The beauty is hard to grasp but its name is pretty much as clear cut as you're going to get.

“This one guy says 'Boy, this is big' and I said 'Yeah, it's a Big Dam Bridge' and they just jumped on it, from a marketing stand point,” said Villines.

Besides being the longest pedestrian bridge, it's also uniquely structured.

“And then sink the piers into the damn itself, and that's never been done that we could find,” said Villines.

Villines said they had to take out original parts of the dam to make the bridge work.

“They had to cut out these huge monoliths,” said Villines.

When the old parts weren't needed any more when the bridge came down, the county decided to make them part of the Big Dam Bridge plaza since it's part of its history.

“In the mornings, you can come out here when the sun rises, and those stones out here just sparkle,” said Villines.

This bridge draws many on a regular basis.

“Through the fall and spring I pretty much wear it out. I’m out here two or three times a week,” said Wilson.

No matter the reason, the effort to get across it is worth it.

“I don't care how many times you see it...it's beautiful. Sometimes you just have to pause and take a look,” said Wilson.

Thursday, September 8 is the 10 year anniversary celebration of the bridge. THV11’s Raven Richard will be live Thursday morning with a preview of the celebration, and Dawn Scott will emcee the event at 10 a.m.


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