Closed I-40 Bridge to Begin Phased Reopening Next Week
Memphis, TN – Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced on Wednesday plans to begin reopening Interstate 40’s Hernando DeSoto Bridge as early as next week.
In a press release sent to Transportation Nation Network (TNN), TDOT stated all I-40 eastbound lanes on the bridge will open at 6 a.m. on Monday, August 2, barring any unforeseen “complications” and to “limited traffic.”
The westbound lanes are expected to open on Friday, August 6.
According to TDOT, all the Phase III plating will be complete by the time the westbound lanes reopen on Friday.
Workers will begin to demobilize, break down platforms, remove equipment and barriers starting with the eastbound direction.
It will be done one side at a time for the safety of construction workers, TDOT stated.
“We know having the bridge closed has been incredibly inconvenient,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “We appreciate the public’s patience while our team made the repairs and performed extensive inspections to ensure it’s structurally sound for many years to come.”
The bridge has been closed since Tuesday, May 11, when TDOT officials said a routine inspection of the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River led to the discovery of a “crack in the bottom side of the bridge truss.”
Subsequent inspections in the weeks following the abrupt closure revealed previous inspections failed to identify additional repairs also needed before the bridge can be reopened.
“Back in May, we speculated that it would be the end of July, first of August to work through all the phases needed to reopen the bridge,” Commissioner Bright stated. “We did not know then what all would be involved, but what I do know is we have all been fortunate to have had a great team that personally took on this project and worked tirelessly to safely reopen the bridge as soon as possible.”
Kiewit Infrastructure Group has led the emergency repair construction, according to TDOT.
TDOT made clear the bridge remains an active work zone.
As such, the Department is requesting motorists to pay attention to the interstate DMS, portable message boards, and SmartWay for specific traffic information.