ALERT: All Lanes Reopened on I-40 Mississippi River Bridge in Memphis
Memphis, TN – The months-long closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge along Interstate 40 connecting Arkansas and Tennessee is officially over.
In an update on Monday, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) confirmed all lanes of the bridge are now open.
TDOT first opened all eastbound lanes late last Saturday evening and reopened all westbound lanes on Monday afternoon.
— Nichole Lawrence (@NicLawrenceTDOT) August 2, 2021
The reopening of the bridge comes ahead of TDOT’s previously announced plan to reopen the eastbound lanes today, followed by the reopening of the westbound lanes on Friday, August 6.
The heavily-trafficked bridge was abruptly closed on May 11 after an inspection led to the discovery of a break in the bottom side of the bridge truss.
The ensuing scandal led to the firing of an Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) senior bridge inspector as well as an ongoing FBI investigation into the matter.
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Further, the Federal Highway Administration is currently probing ARDOT to ascertain how it was that critical damage to the bridge could have been so egregiously missed.
Additionally, ramps previously closed along I-40 westbound will also be reopening, TDOT informed.
However, the ramp from Metal Museum Drive to I-55 south will remain closed.
The currently closed right lane from Riverside Drive to I-55 south will also remain closed.
All other ramps around the I-55 and Crump interchange will be reopening.
“TDOT would like to thank the public for their patience during this critical repair project,” a release stated. “While we realize this has been a significant impact on the community, region, and nation, safety has always been our top priority.”
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Still, the negative economic impacts caused by the major traffic delays will likely be felt by the trucking industry for months to come.
The question now remains, will drivers feel safe once again traveling across the bridge?