MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner Clay Bright announced Wednesday, July 28, that the Interstate 40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River at the Arkansas/Tennessee state line will reopen under limited traffic while contractors finish the work.
Contractors will have completed all the Phase 3 plating by Friday, July 30, according to TDOT. They will begin to demobilize, break down platforms, and remove equipment and barriers starting with the eastbound direction. This will be done one side at a time.
Barring any complications, the reopening plan is as follows:
- Monday, Aug. 2 by 6 a.m. CST: All I-40 eastbound lanes open
- Friday, Aug. 6 (time TBA): All I-40 westbound lanes open
The bridge remains an active work zone, and motorists should pay attention to the interstate direct-messaging system, portable message boards and SmartWay for specific traffic information.
“We know having the bridge closed has been incredibly inconvenient,” Bright said. “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 emergency bridge repair project was awarded to Kiewit Infrastructure Group. The selection was based on qualifications, experience and availability of personnel and equipment.
“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,” Bright said. “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.”
TDOT shares responsibility for the bridge with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT). ARDOT handles the inspections and TDOT is responsible for the repairs. On May 11, an ARDOT contractor discovered a crack in the bottom side of the bridge truss during a routine inspection and immediately shut down the bridge.
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