Beat the Train: U of M Pedestrian Bridge Opens 

A bridge lighting ceremony will be held Friday, August 30th.

Last Wednesday, University of Memphis' new Hunter Harrison Memorial Bridge opened to the public, allowing students to cross over the railroad tracks that divide the campus between Walker and Southern Avenues.

"This bridge is a huge accomplishment, especially for the students, because for decades, they've been having to go across the railroad tracks to get from the south part of campus to the main part of the campus," says Connie Thiemonge, assistant director of alumni relations at the University of Memphis. "We're always concerned for student safety. And this has been years negotiating with the railroad companies and making sure that we can make this happen to keep the students safe."

Construction on the bridge (and a new parking garage and amphitheater) began in May 2018 and wrapped up this month, right on track with the original projected deadline and just in time for the fall 2019 semester.

click to enlarge Like a bridge over busy train tracks - TREY CLARK/UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
  • Trey Clark/University of Memphis
  • Like a bridge over busy train tracks
click to enlarge TREY CLARK/UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
  • Trey Clark/University of Memphis

"We've been getting some fantastic responses from our alumni and friends on social media," Thiemonge says. "Our alums can remember having to cross those tracks and 'beat the train' to get to class. Now that situation won't be a problem. So we're very excited to be able to offer this to our students."

To celebrate, the University of Memphis Alumni Association hosts a bridge lighting in the new UofM Alumni Mall Amphitheatre this Friday. Open to the public, this event features performances by Mighty Sound of the South, Memphis Second Line Jazz Band, the Spirit Squad, and Pouncer.

"Pouncer is going to have a special guest push the magic button and bring the lights up," says Thiemonge.

Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and food and drink will be available for purchase.

Hunter Harrison Memorial Bridge Lighting, University of Memphis, Friday, August 30th, 7-9 p.m., free.

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