A month or so ago I went by my old stomping grounds and took pictures of the Fairground Street Bridge because the plans were to move it downtown at the site of the on-going construction of the Lower MS River Museum and Riverfront Interpretive Center. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District, which is spearheading the museum, nixed that part of the $23 million project, citing cost. About five contractors each quoted $10 million to move it about a mile and a half to town. The contractors felt that it was too brittle to move and there was a lot of uncertainty about that, and really could not afford it. Now, they are saying it would be cheaper to replicate it.
The bridge is about 200 feet long and 15 feet wide, was built in 1868 in Dubuque, Iowa, as a means for trains to travel. It was dismantled and erected in Vicksburg in 1895 when there was no more use for it in Iowa. During that time, the bridge served as a throughway for horses and buggies to travel over the railroad tracks to the river. It has been closed to traffic for 20 years.
For now the portion of the site where the bridge would have gone will be left open in hopes of filling it with an alternative attraction for now.
The concept of building an interpretive museum began in 1992, when the City of Vicksburg purchased the retired MV Mississippi IV for $1. The title returned to the Corps in 2007. Groundbreaking for the museum came in November 2009 and is scheduled to open August 2012.
|Fairground Street Bridge|