Traffic gridlocked in West Memphis despite new plan to ease congestion from bridge closure

I-40 bridge

Mayor hopes new MATA shuttle could help

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Nearly 24 hours after a new traffic plan was put in place in West Memphis to ease congestion from the backup of the I-55 bridge, drivers are weighing in.

The city hopes they can get some help with handling issues like this with a new shuttle service from MATA. But for now, drivers in West Memphis say they can hardly get around the city.

William Curne lives in Proctor, Arkansas, just 15 miles from West Memphis. He’s considering himself lucky he can do most of his business on the west side of the river.

“I ain’t been able to get to Memphis in a month,” Curne said.

A new traffic plan went into effect in West Memphis on Wednesday night. ARDOT says the goal is to cut down on congestion by reducing some points where vehicles can merge.

| New traffic pattern in West Memphis may help alleviate bridge traffic woes →

I-40 traffic continues in the inside lane and I-55 traffic continues in the outside lane through Ingram Blvd. The middle lane will be closed to separate eastbound traffic between the western and eastern I-40/I-55 Interchanges.

We asked Curne about how it’s working out.

“The traffic pattern ain’t helping. It’s not helping at all,” he said. “I’ve seen 18 wheelers just stacked up all the way back there. … That’s 15 minutes outside of West Memphis, they’re just sitting still.”

West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon knows the trouble the traffic creates.

He says the city, along with other agencies, is working with the Memphis Area Transit Authority to provide a shuttle service to Memphis. 

“A couple times during the day during peak hours in the morning and peak hours during the evening.”

| West Memphis makes plans for emergency response while bridge closed →

It’s a fix while we wait for the bigger goal of repair completion to the I-40 bridge. That entire bridge repair project is expected to last through July and possibly August.

MATA says they do not have details for the shuttle yet. They’re still being finalized.

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