MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More platforms have been added to the I-40 bridge, which means the bridge is one step closer to reopening.
WREG-TV spoke one-on-one with TDOT’s Director of Operations as he surveyed the repairs. The bridge’s closure has gained national attention and has rerouted hundreds of thousands of vehicles over the last few months after an inspector discovered a fracture.
Mike Welch, Director of Operations with TDOT, explains what’s next.
“There’s a lot out here. It’s almost like a small city on the bridge,” said Welch.
Welch talked to us about the work that is going on right now. We Zoomed with him when he took a break from checking on the progress of repairs.
Teams fixed the fracture that initially shut down the bridge earlier this month. They’re now looking at areas of the bridge identified in an 800-page inspection.
“And now we’re moving into different areas that resulted from us looking at over 500 locations on the bridge you know almost kind of a microscopic level inspection,” said Welch. “Today it looks like we’re putting in some additional platforms underneath the bridge in different areas to give them access to put those additional plates.”
Welch said safety is still the number one priority and they’re hopeful to have the bridge open to traffic by the end of the month.
“We’re still working toward that really, really hard. We want to see how much of this plating has to be done while the bridge is closed and maybe if possible some of it can be done under traffic,” said Welch.
Welch added, “I would say we’re relatively confident. This week is pretty critical in making that determination because we’re now installing platforms in those areas where we’ve got to do some additional plating.”
It is worth mentioning that open in some capacity by the end of the month does not necessarily mean complete.
Welch also thanked the public for their patience and the various groups they’ve been working with to be needed supplies and repairs done quickly.