Green River’s pedestrian viaduct and underpass

A black and white image of a pedestrian viaduct over an unfenced railyard into downtown Green River, Wyoming.

Photo #1 - The Green River pedestrian viaduct in its early days

 A black and white photo of a train going over an underpass in Green River, Wyoming.

Photo #2 - The Green River railroad underpass. Photo taken about the time of its completion in 1937.

 A headshot of Marna Grubb on a blue background.

Photo #3 - Historian Marna Grubb. In 1992 she received the Judge & Mrs. Percy Metz Memorial Award for Research and Preservation of Green River History from the Wyoming State Historical Society and, on two occasions, in 1992 and again in 2002, she was awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award from the City of Green River.



(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - December 29, 2022)     The Sweetwater County Historical Museum often fields questions from visitors about the origins of the pedestrian viaduct and underpass in Green River. Decades ago, distinguished local historian Marna Grubb provided an excellent summary of those origins in one of her many articles. Marna was a regular contributor to “Echoes from the Bluffs,” a series of accounts about Green River and Sweetwater County history that ran in the Green River Star from 1998 to 2003. The “Echoes” articles were later incorporated into a four-volume set of books published by the Green River Historic Preservation Commission and available for purchase at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River. They can also be found at the county libraries in Rock Springs and Green River.

Marna’s “Echoes from the Bluffs” article about the viaduct and underpass is reproduced below:


Underpass and Pedestrian Viaduct

By Marna Grubb

          Today, traveling from one side of Green River to the other is accomplished with great ease in a short period of time, but this was not always the case.

          For many years, Green River was a town of three-to-four thousand people located north and south of the railroad tracks and north of the river. Getting across the railroad tracks often presented long delays, while citizens would wait for the passing of long freight trains, or the heavy passenger and freight switching accomplished in the railroad yards.

          In October of 1935, Green River's town council approved a proposal to the Union Pacific Railroad for the elimination of the railroad crossing at Elizabeth Street (North First East) with the construction of an underpass at West Second South and a pedestrian overhead crossing of the railroad tracks at the Elizabeth Street crossing.

          This proposal was reported to have been brought about by the "persistence of Green River's popular mayor and his loyal supporting town council" according to The Green River Star of August 1937. Samuel S. Hoover was mayor from 1935 to 1939.

          The underpass was opened to public use in August of 1937, and The Green River Star reported that "This improvement has been at the cost of approximately $160,000 and one must see this structure to realize its beauty and fine construction, with a pedestrian walk on one side with steel railings for protection. The entire length is lighted by artistic iron lamp posts at the top of which are attractive large globes of the latest design."

          The underpass was constructed by the Inland Construction Company of Omaha, Nebraska.

          In September of 1937, The Green River Star reported that "Police Chief Chris Jessen is making an appeal to children, and particularly to parents, to avoid possible serious accidents by discontinuing the use of the underpass as a playground. Several children were reported to have been using the runways for roller skating and wagon coasting lanes."

          In the Agreement of September 7, 1936, the railroad agreed to grant a right-of-way for a pedestrian viaduct over the railroad tracks, the State Highway Department agreed to construct the viaduct, and the town agreed to take and maintain the viaduct. If any major repairs were needed, the town would need to notify the railroad.

          In 1937, the Wyoming State Highway Department awarded the low bid of $66,931 to Inland Construction Company of Omaha, who also were the contractors on the underpass project.

          The Green River Star, in December of 1936, reported that “The pedestrian overpass will be a decided contribution to the safety of Green River residents, particularly the children who must traverse the dangerous railroad tracks four times daily in their progress to and from school. The cost of the project would be out of Federal funds appropriated for railroad crossing elimination, but would be under the supervision of the Wyoming Highway Department.”

          The pedestrian overpass was opened to the public in June of 1938, and Mayor Hoover reported that it eliminated the crossing of 21 double rails, main line and switching lines.


The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River, and there is no charge for admission. While regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, the museum will be closed from Friday, December 30, through Monday, January 2, in observance of the New Year holiday, and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3.