‘We just don’t know’: Transportation leaders unsure on timeline for reopening I-40 bridge

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Trying to cross the I-40 bridge has been a headache for drivers since Tuesday afternoon. It’s caused a lot of traffic causing people to turn around and find alternate routes.

After a routine inspection, officials discovered a crack on the bottom side of the bridge truss. Both state and federal agencies have been working to address the issue.

Leaders with the Tennessee Department of Transportation say the bridge will remain closed “a few days longer” saying they aren’t completely sure on the extent of the damage. But an update on barge traffic is expected to come in a few days.

TDOT believes the crack is due to the age or “fatigue” of the bridge, considering it was built in the 1960s.

Interest in building a third river bridge has also come up.

Even with I-55 as an alternate route, we talked to drivers who said it still took a long time to get across from Tennessee to Arkansas.

”About 45 minutes. I done tried to work from Danny Thomas over this way to try to beat it and didn’t beat it. Still in it,” said one driver.

States are responsible for the upkeep of the bridge, Arkansas is in charge of biannual inspections and Tennessee is in charge of maintenance and repairs. The Federal Highway Administration says they may provide financial or technical support to Tennessee and Arkansas if needed.

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