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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
A. W. Willis. Jr. Bridge
Auction Road Mississippi River Crossing At Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee

A. W. Willis Jr. Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 79028040001.
• Location: River Mile 737.1.
• River Elevation: 187 Feet.
• Highway: Auction Road.
• Daily Traffic Count: 11,320 (2002).
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder.
• Length: 1,405 Feet.
• Width: 57 Feet, 4 Traffic Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width:
• Height Above Water:
• Date Built: Opened 1987.
Prior to 1987, the only access to Mud Island was via the monorail and pedestrian bridge that was built in 1982. The city desired to develop the north end of Mud Island, so an automobile bridge was built. It is an extension of Auction Road, and it is named after A. W. Willis Jr., a famous black attorney who practiced in Memphis for many years. Once this bridge was opened to traffic, developers started to build housing on Mud Island. This area has become a neighborhood that attracts younger upscale residents, partly due to the land prices being very high compared to the rest of Memphis.

The Willis bridge has three steel girder spans flanked by a shorter concrete girder span on each end of the structure. The center span of the bridge crosses a back-channel of the Mississippi River. This channel was once part of the Wolf River. That river was diverted in 1960 to flow north of Mud Island rather than east of the island. This bridge features two sidewalks that are protected from vehicular traffic using concrete barriers. This appears to be the southern-most bridge to cross any part of the Mississippi River that has sidewalks that are open to the public.

The photo above is a view of the traffic deck while traveling westbound towards the Willis Bridge. The photo below is a view of the south face of the bridge as seen from a parking lot near downtown Memphis on the west side of the river.


A. W. Willis Jr. Bridge
A. W. Willis Jr. Bridge
The photo above is the bridge deck while traveling eastbound towards the bridge. The photo below is the south face of the bridge as seen from the access road on the west side of Mud Island. The southern part of the island features tourist attractions, and the north end of the island is a housing development. The center section of the island has not yet been developed.

A. W. Willis Jr. Bridge

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