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Memphis I-40 bridge to partially reopen after months of trucker traffic headaches

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Transportation officials in Arkansas and Tennessee say that the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge in Memphis will partially reopen to traffic as crews finish work, with a full reopening happening next week.

According to a joint announcement on July 28 from the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), “the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen under limited traffic while contractors finish the work.”

Officials also released the following reopening schedule, pending any delays or setbacks:

  • Monday, August 2 by 6:00 a.m. CST: All I-40 Eastbound Lanes Open
  • Friday, August 6 (Time TBA): All I-40 Westbound Lanes Open

Drivers are warned that the bridge remains an active work zone and are asked to use extra caution.

“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 shut down since May 11, 2021, when a routine inspection uncovered a large crack in the structure and the bridge was deemed unsafe to cross. Since that time, traffic has been rerouted to I-55.

The detour was initially costing truckers an extra hour or more of driving time due to heavy traffic, but a series of lane changes implemented on June 9th cut delays to truckers down to approximately 15 minutes. The time saved cut costs to the trucking industry down from $2.4 million per day to about $936,000 each day. 

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