I-40 bridge linking Arkansas, Tennessee re-opened
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – Authorities opened the Interstate 40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee on Saturday night, which has been closed since a crack was discovered in the span in May.
The Hernando DeSoto Bridge, a major thoroughfare for U.S. commerce, has reopened to the public for traffic eastbound, according to a video shared by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The opening of the eastbound lanes was originally scheduled for Monday, but officials recently postponed those plans. The transportation department has announced that it will reopen the lanes of the bridge to the west on August 6, although this could also be moved upwards.
The I-40 bridge over the Mississippi was closed on May 11 after inspectors found a crack in one of two 275-meter-high horizontal steel girders that was critical to the structural integrity of the bridge and forced thousands of trucks and automobiles to bypass the nearby Interstate 55 bridge while repairs to I-40 bridge.
Beverly Robertson, CEO and President of the Greater Memphis Chamber, celebrated the news of the reopening.
“The truck industry has lost a lot as we are the third largest truck corridor in the country. So many goods and services come in and then go out, ”Robertson told WREG-TV.
An estimated $ 9.5 million has been spent on repairs, design and inspection of the bridge after it was closed, an Arkansas traffic official said this week. The costs are shared between the two federal states.
I-40 runs from North Carolina to California. Manufacturers and shippers rely on the interstate to move products and materials across the river. About 50,000 vehicles typically cross the bridge when it is open, with about a quarter of those being utility vehicles, Tennessee traffic officials say.