TDOT expects schedule for I-40 bridge reopening by next week

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 5:46 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Transportation said Thursday it expects a schedule for reopening the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River by next week.

TDOT said a contractor developed two repair concepts as part of phase two of repairs on the fractured beam that shut down the bridge more than two weeks ago.

The first concept included removing the entire fractured steel box member and replacing it with new components while the second concept calls for adding additional steel plating adjacent to the damaged area, bypassing the fractured components and removing a smaller section of the fractured piece. It would leave the bulk of the box section in place.

TDOT says Tennessee and Arkansas transportation officials agreed to proceed with the second concept.

The availability of steel materials and fabrication times for the components will impact the bridge’s reopening date, according to TDOT, but the second design requires less fabrication time and will allow for the bridge to reopen to vehicular traffic two to three weeks sooner than entirely replacing the damaged steel box assembly.

TDOT says the contractor is finishing the final design drawings and sourcing the steel components for repairs.

While I-40 remains shut down and I-55 picks up heavier traffic during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, TDOT is adding an additional camera to monitor the Crump interchange and additional message boards to help with northbound traffic.

TDOT says I-55 is averaging about 67,000 vehicles per day based on a radar station on the east side of the bridge. TDOT HELP trucks are stationed on both sides of the bridge.

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