Constructed in 1895 as a railroad bridge, the Big Four Bridge first provided rail access for freight and passengers traveling between Louisville and Southern Indiana. The bridge operated until 1969 when it was decommissioned, the ramps removed several years later.
The Waterfront Master Plan, developed in the early 1990s, included the Big Four as a pedestrian bridge. On February 6, 2013, the city opened an elliptical ramp and the bridge to pedestrians and bicycles. We installed counters on the Louisville ramp in 2013, helping us calculate an average of 1.5 million pedestrians and bicycles that cross the bridge each year. In 2014, Jeffersonville built their ramp to complete the Big Four experience. The bridge itself is approximately 1/2 mile (2,562 ft.) long. Each ramp is 1/4 mile (1,181 ft.) long. The entire distance totals two miles. You are sure to get a good workout if you walk from one state to the other and back again.
The Big Four Bridge has an LED lighting system that wraps the iron fretwork in vibrant colors. The lights can be programmed to have a rainbow effect, highlighting the beauty and strength of the bridge structure. At night, the bridge becomes a colorful beacon in our city. Lights operate daily from twilight until 1 am.
Reserve a date, tell us your colors, and we’ll do a Big Four Bridge Lighting program just for you.
We can customize the lighting on the Big Four Bridge for your charitable cause or special event. Individuals and organizations have an opportunity to specify up to three colors for a kinetic lighting program that will run for an evening or weekend. Lights come on at twilight and run until 1 am.
Please visit the Park Permits page for more information, including rates, and to fill out an application.
To submit an electronic application for Big Four Bridge Lighting click [here].
Local author Kenny Karem has put together two fun activities about the Big Four Bridge and the Ohio River. These are downloads that you can print at home or access on your phone or tablet.
Download the Big Four Bridge Exploration
Download the Ohio River Exploration
We want to keep the bridge enjoyable for everyone.
When on the bridge, please don’t:
Big Four is a registered trademark owned by Waterfront Park.
The Vietnam Memorial stands at the base of the Big Four Bridge. An American flag flies 70 feet in the air and is visible from the bridge. Dedicated on November 19, 1983, the memorial originally stood on the Belvedere. In 2014, we moved the structure to its current home. The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund funded the memorial.
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