WATCH: Engineer Demonstrates Just How Close I-40 Bridge Came to Catastrophic Collapse

Memphis, TN – A popular engineer recently demonstrated just how close the Hernando DeSoto Bridge along Interstate 40 came to experiencing a catastrophic collapse.

Grady Hillhouse is a civil engineer in San Antonio, TX, and operates a popular YouTube channel called “Practical Engineering.”




 

Hillhouse, who first launched his channel in 2007, says his goal is “to increase exposure and interest in the field of engineering.”

In June, he took a look at the scandal surrounding the I-40 bridge — which spans the Mississippi River and connects Arkansas and Tennessee — after the heavily-trafficked structure was abruptly closed on May 11 following an inspection that led to the discovery of a break in the bottom side of the bridge truss.

“It’s hard to understate the severity of the situation,” he told his more than 1.5 million viewers.

In the 12-minute episode below, Hillhouse demonstrates the expected outcome when a tied-arch bridge, such as the Hernando DeSoto, sustains “fracture critical” damage.




 

Plus, he delves more deeply into what likely caused the fracture and the “unacceptable” inspection failures that resulted in the near catastrophe.

WATCH the full episode below.



After a months-long closure, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) officially reopened all lanes on Monday, August 2.

However, an investigation by the Federal Highway Administration is currently probing the Arkansas Department of Transportation — whose job it was to have the bridge properly inspected — in order to ascertain how critical damage could have been so egregiously missed.

 


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