Big River Crossing Wins Top International Design Honor from the Waterfront Center

September 6th, 2017

Big River Crossing has won the top honor among projects receiving 2017 Excellence in Design Awards from the Waterfront Center, a non-profit educational organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Waterfront Center assists communities across the globe in making the wisest and best long-term uses of waterfront resources for maximum public benefit. Since 1983, the Waterfront Center has organized the major annual international conference on waterfront planning, development and culture.

The Design in Excellence award internationally recognizes developments that have catalyzed active public enjoyment of and access to a waterfront while also making civic, environmental, and educational contributions to the surrounding area and incorporating natural and historical features. Additionally, each nominated project’s degree of difficulty is taken into consideration during the Waterfront Center’s judging process.

An interdisciplinary jury of professional planners, designers, city officials, and community, business and development representatives gave Big River Crossing this year’s top honor. Recent honorees include the Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, TX, the Baltimore Water Wheel, and the Wuxi Grand Canal in China. 

 Big River Crossing’s wide-ranging cultural and economic benefits and stunning design inspired us to nominate the project,” said Virginia McLean, President of Friends for Our Riverfront, a group devoted to keeping the riverfront accessible to the public. “Winning the top honor is an incredible distinction for Memphis and its storied waterfront. We’re truly in esteemed company.”

Built along the Harahan Bridge, Big River Crossing is a bike and pedestrian crossing that stretches from Tennessee to Arkansas across the Mississippi River. Having opened on October 22, 2016, over 200,000 visitors have since made the mile-long trip over 100 feet above the river.

Illuminated with 80,000+ energy efficient LED lights, the bridge has become a new icon on the riverfront–one that helps celebrate events, sports teams, and community goals. The project anchors the vision of a connected system of public parks and greenways at the southern end of the Memphis riverfront. 

Big River Crossing is also part of the $43 million multi-modal “Main to Main” connector project between Memphis and West Memphis. The bridge’s impact includes the current development of a 1,700-acre park adjacent to the bridge on the Arkansas side and ongoing plans for a national biking and hiking trail along the entire Mississippi River’s levee system.

The Waterfront Center’s 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held Friday, September 8, 2017, from 1:30 – 7:00 p.m. at The Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Congressman Steve Cohen, who played a prominent role in development and logistical planning for the bridge, is scheduled to receive the award on behalf of Big River Crossing.

Big River Crossing was an incredibly complex undertaking, and the effort is consistently being validated both by the public’s continued use of the bridge and through receiving global recognition from organizations like the Waterfront Center,” said Cohen. “The bridge is an incredible source of civic pride and engagement, as well as an example of architectural excellence. I will be honored to accept the award on behalf of all who have contributed to its initial success.”

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