Parts of Big River Crossing in the dark after lights go down


Big River Crossing (David Royer, WREG)

Data pix.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The lights have gone down on part of the city's biggest pedestrian bridge, leaving people walking, biking or running across the river in the dark.

City representatives say they're aware of the problem, but don't know exactly when it will be fixed.

Big River Crossing, connecting Memphis to Arkansas, is the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River, and boasts big views of the Bluff City. The crossing, built on the old Harahan Bridge, opened in October 2016 at a cost of $18 million, and features the Mighty Lights LED display.

It's a popular spot for thousands to take a walk.

"It's a pretty run. We do like to run it," said Cullen Estes, on his evening run.

The majority of the crossing has overhead lights, but one portion looks like a pitch-black tunnel.

"You see this big dark spot up there and you wonder what's there, and of course you're going to be anxious about it," Estes said. "It's kinda scary. Kinda creepy."

In this part of the crossing, a little more than the length of a football field, the lights are out.

"I'm always wondering if somebody might be hiding in there," Estes said.

With no lights, runners have to make adjustments. Some runners say they just turn around rather than run through the dark section alone.

Cliff Costello and Casey Smith, training for the St. Jude marathon, brought a headlamp. Smith avoids going alone.

Those aren't the only lights out — another section is in the dark too, but that portion is still illuminated from the bridge's lights.

WREG has received reports of the lights out as far back as March, but a spokesperson with the city said they just recently learned of the outage.

We asked the Memphis River Parks Partnership and the city of Memphis what was going on. The River Parks Partnership said they are not responsible for the lighting, only the day to day operations and the city of Memphis handles more infrequent repairs like the lights.

A spokesperson with the city said they're working with a contractor to make the repairs.

Although WREG has reached out on the phone and emailed numerous times to get a timeline for when repairs will be made, there's still no solid answer for when the lights will be back on.

Wednesday, the city responded to our question, saying, "We are working diligently with the contractor to resolve the repairs. The lights are a customized specialty order. The contractor is trying to locate an alternative solution. However, due to the repairs complexity, we do not have a time frame for the work to be completed."


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