White House tweet keeps I-40 bridge at center of national infrastructure debate

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The I-40 Hernando Desoto Bridge remains a focal point in the national debate over infrastructure.   

On Tuesday, the White House tweeted an article from the Wall Street Journal, which covers the bridge closure’s impact on the economy and traffic.  The tweet said, “Infrastructure failures, like this crack in the Mississippi River bridge, can have giant impacts on the economy.” 

“The American Jobs Plan will invest in our nation’s infrastructure so families, small businesses, and communities can thrive,” it added.  

Mid-Southerners were quick to respond, sending their own pictures of traffic backup. They talked about how long it takes to cross the river and discussed the I-55 bridge taking on the extra traffic load.  Some also expressed concern about the impacts on the economy and price increases. 

The Wall Street Journal article featured several local officials and businesses, including the manager of Barton’s who said their sales are down 45 percent already in the last month compared to this time last year.  

But there is good news, the first steel plate is on the bridge. Nichole Lawrence with the Tennessee Department of Transportation tweeted Tuesday afternoon, saying 1.2 million pounds of pressure was applied to be able to install these plates. That process is estimated to take 10 to 15 days.  

As of the last TDOT update, installing of those plates will continue as more parts come in, and the broken section of the bridge beam has been removed.

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