Group wants the Vicksburg Bridge permanently opened

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, April 8, 2018

Events such as Bricks and Spokes and the Over the River Run draw hundreds of cyclists and runners each year to the Old Vicksburg Bridge, also known as the U.S. 80 Bridge, that crosses the Mississippi River. Now, a group in Vicksburg wants the historic bridge to be open year-round to pedestrians and cyclists.

The group, Friends of the Vicksburg Bridge, want the bridge open permanently and not just for special events. The organization is expected to have an informational meeting with the Warren County Board of Supervisors during the board’s work session at 8:30 April 23.

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One of those expected to be in attendance at the meeting and a member of the Friends of the Vicksburg Bridge is Elizabeth Nelson who believes the Old Vicksburg Bridge is an unused asset to Vicksburg. She and her group want the Warren County Bridge Commission to open the bridge so it is available to walker, runners and cyclists all year.

“There is a lot of support for this initiative statewide and locally, and many believe it would be an overnight tourism draw for Vicksburg, Warren County, and the entire state of Mississippi,” Nelson said in an email. “The special events held on the bridge have been a great success, now it is time to open the bridge to the public full time.”

Friends of the Vicksburg Bridge plan to ask the Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution requesting the bridge commission proceed with opening the bridge permanently to cyclists and pedestrians.

The group points out that hundreds of bicyclists participate each year in Bricks and Spokes since it began in 2010 and the Over the River Run will take place for the 30th time in 2018. One of the main draws for both events has been the Old Vicksburg Bridge, and if it were open year-round would be a draw for tourists as well.

Nelson asks those who “believe in making a difference in tourism in our beautiful city” to join with them at the meeting or visit the River Path Junction Facebook page for more information.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, the cantilever bridge was built in 1928-30 and was used for vehicles to across the Mississippi River until 1998 when the new Vicksburg Bridge was built a short distance down river. The bridge is now used for rail traffic only.