ARDOT Officials Roll Out New Plan to Ease Congestion From I-40 Bridge Closure
West Memphis, AR – Arkansas transportation officials are implementing a new plan to alleviate traffic congestion as a result of the closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge along Interstate 40.
This week, the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) released details of a plan officials hope will ease congestion by reducing merging points for travelers being detoured to the Interstate 55 bridge since the closure of the I-40 bridge in May.
According to ARDOT, the changes below are scheduled to be implemented on Wednesday evening.
• I-55 southbound will be reduced to a single outside lane just before the western I-40/I-55 Interchange.
• I-40 eastbound already narrows to a single lane at the I-40/I-55 Interchange. Exit Ramps at 7th Street and Ingram Blvd. will be closed to I-40 traffic.
• I-40 traffic will continue in the inside lane and I-55 traffic will continue in the outside lane through Ingram Blvd. The middle lane will be closed to separate eastbound traffic between the western and eastern I-40/I-55 Interchanges.
• East of Ingram Blvd. eastbound traffic will transition into two adjacent lanes.
• The I-40/I-55 on-ramp at Ingram Blvd. will be closed.
The latest data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) reveals commute times from the I-55/I-40 interchange in Arkansas southbound to just across the I-55 River Bridge is averaging between 55 to 65 minutes during peak hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Northbound travelers between the interchange of I-55 with U.S. 61 and the Crump Interchange just before the I-55 River Crossing are experiencing commute times between 29 and 25 minutes.
While the closure of the I-40 bridge has created significant inconveniences for motorists, the trucking industry is bearing the brunt of the economic damages.
The Arkansas Trucking Association (ARTA) estimates the I-40 bridge closure is costing the industry $2.4 million each day in delays from congestion.
With the I-40 bridge not expected to open for at least two to three more months, the cost to the trucking industry could soar well above $250 million.