The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is optimistic that repairs to a major bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee will be completed by the end of the month.
In a July 6 update, TDOT announced that they plan to have the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge in Memphis reopened to traffic by the end of July as a large portion of the repair is now complete.
“Bridge inspectors conducted ultrasound testing on more than 500 weld connections. We have identified nine locations that need plating. We are currently completing the design of those plates this week. Material is being sourced with fabrication to follow. Our goal for opening the bridge is still the end of July. The safety of the workers and the public is our number one priority,” TDOT said.
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.