Ralph Modjeski was commissioned on April 10, 1913 by the Rock Island (railroad) Lines to prepare plans for a crossing near the existing Frisco Bridge. Preliminary plans submitted for War Department approval on May 13, 1913. The design included a double track railroad with cantilevered highway lanes.
After receiving approval for the design, construction begins on the bridge substructure. Walter Angier served as Assistant Chief Engineer and Montgomery Case served as Resident Engineer. Shown here is the construction of Pier III in the Mississippi River.
The outbreak of WWI delayed fabrication of steel members but adjustments at the steel shops allowed for fabrication to continue. The first steel was erected on Pier I on April 7, 1915. Work on the superstructure continued until the last pin was driven on June 28th, 1916.
First train passed on July 14, 1916. The cantilevered roadways did not open to traffic until September 1917 after the City of Memphis and Crittenden County (Arkansas) agreed on how to construct their portions of the roadways leading to the bridge.