Memphis Bridge Reopens To Vehicle Traffic

The Hernando de Soto Bridge at Memphis, Tenn., partially reopened to vehicle traffic August 2.

Eastbound traffic is to resume across the bridge on Interstate 40 with all lanes open by 6 a.m. on that day. Westbound traffic on the bridge resumed August 6. All lanes are open.

The bridge has been closed since a contractor for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) discovered a major crack in a bridge truss May 11. The crack led to both vehicle and river traffic being halted between Mile 736 and Mile 737. Traffic on the Lower Mississippi River under the bridge resumed after three days. During the river closure, 62 vessels and 1,058 barges had to queue before the Coast Guard lifted restrictions.

Vehicle traffic was detoured onto the only other Memphis-area river crossing, on I-55 as crews started three phases of plating repairs, which are now complete, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). ArDOT and TDOT share ownership of the bridge. The bridge connects Memphis to West Memphis, Ark.

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“We know having the bridge closed has been incredibly inconvenient,” TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said. “We appreciate the public’s patience while our team made the repairs and performed extensive inspections to ensure it’s structurally sound for many years to come.” 

“Back in May, we speculated that it would be the end of July, first of August to work through all the phases needed to reopen the bridge,” Bright said. “We did not know then what all would be involved, but what I do know is we have all been fortunate to have had a great team that personally took on this project and worked tirelessly to safely reopen the bridge as soon as possible.”