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  1. #1
    Velocipedic Practitioner
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    Crossing the Mississippi......

    I plan to be touring in western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas/Missouri in September. But there seems to be very few opportunities to cross the Mississippi River. I can find only three, one in northern Tennessee and two near Memphis. All of these appear to be limited access freeways which makes me question the ability of a bicycle to cross the river out of Tennessee.

    Anyone know anything about these bridge crossings? Is it legal or are there accommodations for bicycles to cross? If bicycles are not permitted, is there a shuttle service? Are there other crossings or ferries I'm unaware of?

    Thanks for any help.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  2. #2
    Senior Member Trek Al's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about crossing in Memphis. There are two interstate bridges and two railroad bridges but I don't know if any allow pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Here is a link to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, just give them a call.

    http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/contact.htm

    Al
    Last edited by Trek Al; 07-29-06 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I have read reports of crossing the Mississippi on US Hwy 49 between Lula, TN and Helena, AR. It's about 50 mi south of Memphis. It looks like you may be able to cross the Mississippi on the I-55 bridge out of Memphis, but the photograh I saw looked like you would have to walk your bike to get around the girders. If the link to tdot doesn't help you, you could almost certainly call any bike shop in Memphis and get info on crossing from them.

  4. #4
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    DON"T bother with local bike shops

    Call the State hwy Patrols, they will be the ones who will stop and most likely ticket you if using the bridge is not allowed

  5. #5
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    Mississippi crossings

    This is a good question in general (beyond the Memphis area). Where can the Great River be crossed throughout its length and what are the accomidations required?

    There is a ferry service near Hickman, KY that does allow cyclists at a rate of $2 a bike. Dorena-Hickman Ferry. It's a good 120-150 miles north of Memphis, but it is a potential crossing.

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    There is a ferry (free, I believe) in Louisiana at St. Francisville. This is on the Souther Tier route.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Most of the bridges across San Francisco Bay are limited access. A car free friend in Marin County said that when he had to get to the east side of the Bay (and back) he would call the agency running the bridges and say when he would need to cross. Usually withing half an hour of the time he got there one of the emergency service trucks that constantly shuttle across across the bridges would give him a lift over. Now there are bike racks on most buses running over the bridges. As others say contact the state agencies on both sides of the bridge. I expect the police would just say no. Greyhound might do it for a price. Adventure cyclings Yellow Pages has contact numbers for each state government. That alone was worth the price of joining for me.
    This space open

  8. #8
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    You can walk your bike across the I-55 bridge in Memphis, look up Mississippi River Trail (MRT) they have a web site and maps. By the way Lula is in MS. not TN. Memphis is about as far south as one can go in TN.

  9. #9
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    Years ago, I crossed the Mississippi on the old Chain of Rocks bridge in North St. Louis County. At that time, the bridge was recently closed to traffic, due to the opening of the new bridge. This would undoubtedly be a little out of your way though. Also, the bridge may have been demolished since then.
    Jim
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  10. #10
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    You can cross the Chain of Rocks bridge in St. Louis (it's part of a bike trail now).
    You can cross the Lewis and Clark bridges into Alton Il.
    You can cross the Golden Eagle and Brussels ferries into Illinois south of Grafton
    You can cross the Grafton Ferry into Illlinois at Grafton

  11. #11
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dellphinus
    You can cross the Chain of Rocks bridge in St. Louis (it's part of a bike trail now).
    You can cross the Lewis and Clark bridges into Alton Il.
    You can cross the Golden Eagle and Brussels ferries into Illinois south of Grafton
    You can cross the Grafton Ferry into Illlinois at Grafton
    This is good to know for next time I'm back visiting family!
    Jim
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  12. #12
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrapax
    This is a good question in general (beyond the Memphis area). Where can the Great River be crossed throughout its length and what are the accomidations required?
    Doring the summer the Channel Cat water taxi will transport you and your bike from Moline, Il to Danvenport, IA or vice versa.

    There is a sidewalk on the Centennial bridge than runs from Rock Island to Davenport. Since it is a highway you could ride over it also, but I have only done this when one lane was closed to cars. The great River Trail runs right under the bridge making it easy to find..
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

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  13. #13
    Hooked on Touring
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    There is a wonderful ferry between Hickman, Kentucky and Dorena, Missouri just north of the Tennessee line. Since it's small and run by a family it does not run at night - but the folks who run it are super.

    http://www.dorena-hickmanferryboat.com/

  14. #14
    Florida to Oregon in 2007 lighthorse@eart's Avatar
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    PurpleK,
    I am in the planning stage of a modified Transam from Oregon to Florida. I had the same question about crossing the big river. So last month I rode my motorcycle along some of the route to check it out. U.S. route 49 crosses the Mississippi just east of Helena/West Helena Arkansas. It is a two lane highway with small shoulders on the bridge. After crossing the bridge I stopped in the Arkansas welcome office and asked them about crossing on a bicycle. They said people do it every day. In fact, during the time I was there, a local came across on a mountain bike. Since then I have found a couple of tourer's logs recording their crossing of that bridge. My plan is to spend the night near the bridge and cross it early in the morning when the traffic is light.
    Hope this is of some help.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I recall crossing the Mississippi at Memphis via car. Seems I did not like the bridges. Narrow and busy.
    Do I not recall ferry boats at several locations on the MIssissippi in this area. I'd be looking for that option. Besides, you'd likley avoid busy urban areas that way.

  16. #16
    Velocipedic Practitioner
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    Thanks everyone for the good advice and resources to check.

    I have since modified my St Louis to Memphis route to eliminate Tennessee bridge crossings. I will be using ferries from Illinois to Missouri and then from Missouri to Kentucky and continue to Memphis on the east side of the river. (Thanks Terrapax)
    However, should anyone be interested, Tennessee sources suggested I use the sidewalks on the I-55 bridge to walk across Ol' Man River. (Thanks for the lead, apneaman).
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  17. #17
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edp773
    Doring the summer the Channel Cat water taxi will transport you and your bike from Moline, Il to Danvenport, IA or vice versa.

    There is a sidewalk on the Centennial bridge than runs from Rock Island to Davenport. Since it is a highway you could ride over it also, but I have only done this when one lane was closed to cars. The great River Trail runs right under the bridge making it easy to find..
    And just for the search record, north of there, the Highway 136 bridge connecting Clinton. IA to Fulton, IL has a sidewalk.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Last week I crossed the Big Muddy at Muscatine, Iowa into Illinois. The bridge had a reasonably good, small shoulder. The traffic wasn't too bad either. It is a wonderful experience crossing this great river, and I'd encourage everyone to try it.

  19. #19
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    Crossing the Mississippi River

    If you are in Missouri, you can use the I-72 bridge from Hannibal MO to Hull IL. It is posted on the bridge that that bicycles are allowed. But, watch the storm drain covers. They are placed 90 degrees incorrectly and your tires will drop into the slots. It might ruin your day.

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