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All lanes reopened on I-40 bridge ahead of schedule

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Engineers spent weeks repairing a significant fracture in one of the I-40 bridge’s support beams.

Monday at around 1 p.m., all lanes on the 1-40 bridge were open to traffic ahead of schedule. Eastbound lanes opened Saturday night.

“It’s been an exciting day,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) spokesperson, Nichole Lawrence. “We’ve had a long process these last 80 something days since May 11 and it’s great to be here at the end.”

That may especially hold true for those traversing these past weeks on the congested I-55 bridge. Truck drivers sometimes spend hours in traffic.

“Drivers are experiencing a lot of fatigue because if they’re driving certain trucks, they’re hitting the clutch, hitting brakes, steering wheel, just more tired than they normally would be,” said Trey Carter, president of Olympic Career Training Institute.

Olympic Career Training Institute trains new drivers and says the shutdown has been tough on the trucking industry.

Business leaders are already making plans to put wheels in motion to make sure a shutdown doesn’t happen again, and the city, that is a logistical hub, won’t face a similar situation in the future.

“What we don’t want is, we don’t want to stop that commerce,” said Beverly Robertson, Greater Memphis Chamber CEO. “So, it would be great if we got a functioning bridge, and we’ve got one that’s 72 years old. We may need to consider a third bridge, and I think we are going to be starting some due diligence around that right now.”

TDOT says the ramps at Metal Museum Drive and Crump to I-55 South will remain closed for the next few days.

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