Greenville Bridge

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Greenville Bridge
Mississippi River bridge at Greenville MS - Lake Village AR.jpg
The nearly completed bridge, viewed from the Arkansas side (October 2009)
Coordinates 33°17′14″N91°09′15″W / 33.28722°N 91.15417°W / 33.28722; -91.15417 Coordinates: 33°17′14″N91°09′15″W / 33.28722°N 91.15417°W / 33.28722; -91.15417
Carries 4 lanes of US 82.svgUS 278.svg US 82 / US 278
Crosses Mississippi River
Locale Refuge, Mississippi, and Shives, Arkansas
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Total length 13,560 feet (4,133 m)
Width 88 feet (27 m)
Longest span 1,378 feet (420 m)
Clearance below 122 feet (37 m)
Opened August 4, 2010 (2010-08-04)
USA Arkansas location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Greenville Bridge
Location in Arkansas

The Greenville Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Mississippi River, in the United States, carrying US 82 and US 278 between Refuge, Mississippi, and Shives, Arkansas. When it opened in 2010, it was the fourth-longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.

Cable-stayed bridge type of bridge

A cable-stayed bridge has one or more towers, from which cables support the bridge deck. A distinctive feature are the cables or stays, which run directly from the tower to the deck, normally forming a fan-like pattern or a series of parallel lines. This is in contrast to the modern suspension bridge, where the cables supporting the deck are suspended vertically from the main cable, anchored at both ends of the bridge and running between the towers. The cable-stayed bridge is optimal for spans longer than cantilever bridges and shorter than suspension bridges. This is the range within which cantilever bridges would rapidly grow heavier, and suspension bridge cabling would be more costly.

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


The Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge, the first bridge to connect the two towns, had become functionally obsolete. Its narrow road had only two lanes with no shoulders. Because of its location near a sharp bend in the Mississippi River, the bridge had become a hazard to river traffic; barges and towboats frequently collided with it. In 1994, a study concluded that a new bridge was needed and the old one should be torn down. Construction was begun in 2001 and the new bridge opened in 2010. In 2011, the process of removing the old bridge began.

Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge

The Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge was a two-lane cantilevered truss bridge carrying U.S. Route 82/U.S. Route 278 across the Mississippi River between Lake Village, Arkansas and Greenville, Mississippi. It was the first bridge to connect the two towns. The bridge was named for Benjamin G. Humphreys II, a former United States Congressman from Greenville.

A shoulder, or hard shoulder is an emergency stopping lane by the verge of a road or motorway, on the right in countries which drive on the right, or on the left side in India, Japan, the UK, Australia, and other left-side driving countries. Many wider US and Swedish freeways have shoulders on both sides of each directional carriageway, in the median as well as at the outer edges of the road, for additional safety. Shoulders are not intended for use by through traffic, although there are exceptions.

Barge flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river, canal transport of heavy goods, usually pushed by tugboats

A barge is a flat-bottomed ship, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and must be towed or pushed by towboats, canal barges or towed by draft animals on an adjacent towpath. Barges contended with the railway in the early Industrial Revolution, but were outcompeted in the carriage of high-value items due to the higher speed, falling costs and route flexibility of railways.


Opened in 2010, the Greenville Bridge carries US 82/US 278 over the Mississippi River between Refuge, Mississippi, and Shives, Arkansas. It is located 0.5 miles (0.80 km) down river from the original bridge, built in 1940. Designed by HNTB, it is a four-lane cable-stayed bridge with more than 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of bridge deck straddled by two concrete towers 425 feet (130 m) feet high and anchored by concrete piers planted 120 feet (37 m) below the riverbed. It has four fans of strand steel cable connected to the top of the towers which support the deck. [1]

Refuge, Mississippi Unincorporated community in Mississippi, United States

Refuge is an unincorporated community located in Washington County, Mississippi, United States.

Shives, Arkansas Unincorporated community in Arkansas, United States

Shives is an unincorporated community in Chicot County, Arkansas, United States.


HNTB Corporation is an American architecture, civil engineering consulting and construction management firm that was founded in 1914. The firm has numerous offices across the United States, and has designed many roadways, airports, bridges, tunnels, sports stadiums, and rail and transit systems across the United States and around the world.

Each of the bridge's four lanes is 12 feet (4 m) wide. The outside shoulders are 12 feet (4 m) wide, and the inside shoulder width is 8 feet (2 m). The bridge has a main span of 1,378 feet (420 m). At the time of its opening, it was the fourth-longest cable-stayed bridge in North America. [1]

Both the old and new bridges are geographically mostly in Arkansas, as the state lines were determined prior to the shift west of the Mississippi River. [2]


The first Greenville Bridge was built by the company now known as HNTB and opened to much fanfare in 1940 as the "pathway to progress" for the Mississippi Delta. [3] It was a through-truss design and had a span of 840 feet (260 m). Until 1943, this was the longest bridge for vehicles on the Mississippi River. [4] Over time, the bridge supported increasing volumes of highway traffic and vehicles hitting the bridge. In the 1950s, an Air Force plane crashed into the bridge. Though the bridge remained structurally sound, it was becoming functionally obsolete. [1] It had only two narrow highway lanes and no shoulders. An accident or the crossing of very large vehicles such as a large combine could force the bridge to close. [3]

Mississippi Delta northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers

The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi which lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. The region has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth", because of its unique racial, cultural, and economic history. It is 200 miles long and 87 miles across at its widest point, encompassing circa 4,415,000 acres, or, some 7,000 square miles of alluvial floodplain. Originally covered in hardwood forest across the bottomlands, it was developed as one of the richest cotton-growing areas in the nation before the American Civil War (1861–1865). The region attracted many speculators who developed land along the riverfronts for cotton plantations; they became wealthy planters dependent on the labor of black slaves, who comprised the vast majority of the population in these counties well before the Civil War, often twice the number of whites.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Combine harvester machine that harvests grain crops

The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate harvesting operations—reaping, threshing, and winnowing—into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), sorghum, soybeans, flax (linseed), sunflowers and canola. The separated straw, left lying on the field, comprises the stems and any remaining leaves of the crop with limited nutrients left in it: the straw is then either chopped, spread on the field and ploughed back in or baled for bedding and limited-feed for livestock.

3-D artistic prototype of the new bridge with the old bridge and the sharp bend in the Mississippi River in the background Greenvillebridges.jpg
3-D artistic prototype of the new bridge with the old bridge and the sharp bend in the Mississippi River in the background

With river traffic increasing, damage from barge collisions increased. By 1972, the Greenville Bridge was hit more times by barges than any other bridge on the Mississippi. The bridge was located close to a sharp bend in the Mississippi; towboats and barges had difficulty making the sharp turn and regaining their course in time to avoid a collision with the bridge. Over the years, many have not been able to make the turn quickly and have hit it. The bridge had become a danger to river traffic. [3]

A 1994 engineering study by the Mississippi Department of Transportation explored alternatives to upgrading the crossing of US 82 and issued a report that explored a four-lane crossing at Greenville. It concluded the best of several alternatives it identified was to build a new bridge 0.5 miles (0.80 km) downriver from the old one, and to remove the old bridge. Additional studies evaluated the type of bridge to build, and by 1995 the cable-stayed bridge was chosen as the best design to fit the river and soil conditions, as well as providing sufficient clearance for river navigation. Engineering plans were completed in 1999. [1]


HNTB, of Kansas City, Missouri, was the designer and consulting engineer for both the new bridge as well as the original Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge. [4] The federal government provided $110 million to begin building the main part of the bridge consisting long spans supported by cables. The main superstructure construction began in December 2001. [5] Massman Construction Company in a joint venture with Traylor Brothers, Inc. received the contract to construct two large piers in the river; these were built using both floating caissons and open caisson construction. [6] The construction on the last main span section of the bridge was finished in April 2006. [7]

Wire cable fans on cable-stayed Greenville Bridge Greenville Bridge-1.jpg
Wire cable fans on cable-stayed Greenville Bridge

Building the approaches, including shorter spans of approach bridge work and structural support systems for the bridge, was the responsibility of each state. For both states, the approach bridges are constructed of a series of three span units, each unit 120 feet (37 m) long. [5] Construction of Arkansas' 2.5 miles (4 km) approach of highway and bridge, costing $66 million, began in March 2006; Mississippi began its 1.8 miles (2.9 km) approach in April, 2006, costing almost $86 million. [3] Hill Brothers Construction and Jensen Construction, in a joint venture with the Rasmussen Group, were awarded the contract for the eastern approach of US 82 in Greenville to the Mississippi River crossing. [8] Hills Brothers Construction was awarded a $85.9 million contract to work on the road deck of the Mississippi approach to the bridge, the concrete footings, and the substructure and superstructure of that portion. [9] Austin Bridge and Road was awarded a $65 million contract to build Arkansas's 4,657 feet (1,419 m) of approach bridge and 3,225 feet (983 m) of connecting roadway which was completed in August 2009. [10] The remaining contract, to apply a latex surface to the bridge, add stripes, tie US 82 into the approaches, and dismantle the Humphreys Bridge, was awarded in January 2010. [10]

View of the Greenville Bridge from the Mississippi River. River cruise 2009 27b2.jpg
View of the Greenville Bridge from the Mississippi River.

It took sixteen years from the initial developing stage begun in 1994, until the Greenville Bridge opened to traffic on August 4, 2010. [3] The entire cost of the bridge totaled $336 million. [3] In 2011, the massive process of removing the old bridge by cutting into small sections to be recycled was begun, and is expected to be completed by September 2012. [2] [10] At times, the river has been closed to traffic to aid the demolition. [11] The job is dangerous and at least two workers have died. [12]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Project Summary: The New Bridge". US 82 Greenville Bridge. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Grayson, Walt (June 7, 2011). "Old Greenville Bridge Coming Down". 3 on your side. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lampkin, Sheilla (February 17, 2011). "End of an Era: Greenville Bridge Dismantled". Monticello Live. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Project Summary: The 1940 Bridge". US 82 Greenville Bridge. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Approach Projects". US 82 Greensville Bridge. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  6. "Greenville Bridge Construction Plan Hydrodynamic and Scour Potential Analysis" (PDF). West Consulting, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 14, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  7. "Greenville Bridge Span Completed". NBC. WLBT. 2006-04-13. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  8. "East Approach To Mississippi River Bridge — Greenville, MS". Rassmussen Group. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  9. "Highway 82 Greenville Bridge and Approaches". Hill Brothers Construction. Archived from the original on December 18, 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 "Project Updates for District 3 (Delta Region)". March 30, 2010. Archived from the original on August 17, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  11. "Regulated Navigation Area; Greenville Bridge Demolition, Lower Mississippi River Mile 531.3, AR, MS". November 2, 2010. Federal Register. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  12. Associated Press (March 11, 2011). "Two workers die in Greenville Bridge accident". Mississippi Business Journal. Retrieved January 6, 2012.