TDOT: Additional repairs needed before I-40 bridge can reopen

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In their most recent update, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) says state-of-the-art survey technology, using ultrasound, has revealed more repair work than initially thought.

Instead of repairing nine steel plates on the bridge, the 800-page report from an ultrasound inspection showed 16 steel plates that crews need to repair.

“Just some irregulars. Some of those places that we’re finding could have been in the fabrication of the material,” said Mike Welch, TDOT director of operations for West Tennessee.

Welch says crews are building a platform system to do the repairs and determine if the additional repairs need to be before reopening a portion of the bridge.

“Can they deal with all that movement going on versus what they have to do while it’s closed,” Welch said.

Bobby White, chief public policy officer for the Greater Memphis Chamber, says local trucking companies have had to adapt during the shutdown of the bridge in what is the third busiest trucking corridor in the nation. He hopes there are no further delays so business can return to normal as safely as possible.

“I think it’s not just about opening the bridge, it’s about opening safely,” White said. “It’s about this idea that as much as it has impacted commerce, and as much as it has been impacting business, safety still reins supreme.”

Welch says at this time, TDOT still hopes to open at least a portion of the bridge by the end of July.

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