Tennessee, Arkansas officials hopeful as I-40 bridge repair enters Phase 3; Engineers find 16 plate locations need repair

I-40 bridge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — We’re getting one step closer to getting vehicles back on the I-40 bridge in Memphis, which has been closed since May when an inspector discovered a large crack in a beam.

But late Monday night, TDOT officials announced the consulting engineers have identified a total of 16 plate locations that are critical to repair to open the bridge for traffic. Prep work is being done now, with the first shipment of plates planned this week.

A spokesperson with Tennessee Department of Transportation says the goal is to open the bridge by the end of this month, but it’s worth mentioning that statement was made before TDOT officials made the announcement about the 16 plate locations that need repair.

That could mean the bridge is open to limited, or possibly full traffic. But completion could be different. 

Within the last 24 hours, painting of Phase 2 of the repairs has been underway.

TDOT says over the weekend they started Phase 3 of repairs as well, fixing areas of additional concern found in an inspection. That includes final bolting, removal and installation of various pieces and installing access platforms for Phase 3 work.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a crisis like this on one of our major bridges, especially along I-40,” TDOT spokesperson Nichole Lawrence said. “That’s a major corridor for the nation, not just Memphis.”

So far TDOT has identified the need for nine additional plates to help with the repairs. Crews are in the process of getting the needed materials.

“We’re definitely excited about almost completing the final phase,” said Marco McClendon, mayor of West Memphis, Arkansas.

His city has dealt with its share of issues with the closure: gridlock on the interstate, and sometimes bumper-to-bumper traffic in neighborhoods as people looked for alternate routes.

I-40 bridge closure: See more

McClendon said once the bridge re-opens, a new focus will be to secure funding to help repair damaged roads in the city impacted by the extra traffic the last few months.

But he credits TDOT and ARDOT for making changes to improve traffic problems. 

“I mean it’s not where it needs to be. It only takes one accident and we have that one accident to back up traffic,” McClendon said, “but for the most part traffic is moving relatively fine.”

He hopes the closure and repairs bring on bigger fixes. 

“I’m definitely hoping, praying for a bipartisan infrastructure deal to get done, because I don’t want any other city to have to go through what Memphis and West Memphis have had to deal with a bridge as important as the I-40 bridge,” McClendon said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News

Watch Latest Videos

North Memphis pastor pleads for end of violence following shooting

Wolf River Ribbon Cutting

Education matters

New Shelby Co. health director

Thousands of students learning online in Tennessee this upcoming school year

Mother shares son's recovery

More News