Reopening timeline for I-40 bridge could be released this week

Transportation secretary to visit Memphis Thursday
Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 4:48 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Tennessee Department of Transportation could release a timeline this week detailing when the I-40 bridge will reopen.

It comes as Memphis prepares for a visit from the nation’s top transportation official.

The bridge has been closed since May 11 due to a fractured beam.

Greater Memphis Chamber President Beverly Robertson says the bridge’s closure having not just a regional impact, but a national one.

“Someone used a figure of some companies are being impacted to the tune of $4 million a day, as that bridge continues to stay closed and there are lots of businesses that are deeply concerned,” said Robertson.

But relief could be coming soon.

Tennessee and Arkansas leaders decided last week to move forward with repairs that involve adding steel plating over the damaged area.

TDOT says it expects to release a schedule for reopening in the coming days.

Robertson said officials at all levels continue to work on the crisis.

“I can assure you that everybody from Washington to the state to the local level is full speed ahead trying to expedite it because they have heard the voice of business,” said Robertson.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is also preparing to visit Memphis on Thursday, to assess the damage to the bridge and learn about the impact the closure is having.

Memphis U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen invited Buttigieg to visit.

“I’m gratified Secretary Pete accepted my invitation to visit Memphis and assess the damage to the I-40 bridge. I welcome his hands-on approach and look forward to working together to repair our infrastructure and reopen one of the nation’s busiest freight corridors after a crack was discovered in the bridge.”

Buttigieg is also expected to tout President Biden’s infrastructure proposal the White House is currently negotiating with Republicans over.

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