MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A U.S. senator from Tennessee is calling on President Joe Biden to take an “urgent, all-hands” approach to the shutdown of a bridge that connects Tennessee and Arkansas.
Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty said May 15 in a letter to the president that the shutdown is “affecting the lives and livelihoods of real people right now.” Hagerty said the fix to the Interstate 40 bridge should not wait for a proposed infrastructure bill being debated in Washington.
River traffic reopened on the Mississippi River on May 14, three days after it was closed when a crack was discovered in the bridge. The span will remain closed to vehicles indefinitely, and road traffic is being rerouted.
Hagerty said he has spoken with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and “conveyed the urgency of the matter.”
Democrats have said the shutdown highlights the urgent need for more infrastructure funding.
On May 17, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics issued a report outlining the impact of the bridge closure on multimodal freight.
According to the BTS report, “rerouting traffic from the I-40 crossing to the nearby I-55 bridge is creating significant travel time increases, costing tens of thousands of trucks and commuters each day delays greater than an hour.”
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