1st Step of I-40 Bridge Repair Complete; Span Remains Closed


1st Step of I-40 Bridge Repair Complete; Span Remains Closed
The Hernando de Soto Bridge carrying Interstate 40 across the Mississippi River between Arkansas and Tennessee was closed indefinitely on May 11. (Main image: Shutterstock | Inset: Tennessee Department of Transportation)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The first step toward repairing a crack in a steel beam in the Interstate 40 bridge linking Tennessee and Arkansas has been completed, two weeks after the span was closed to vehicles, officials said.

Engineers have installed steel plates on each side of the fractured beam to secure the bridge for a permanent fix, Tennessee transportation officials said Tuesday. 

The second step involves removing and replacing the cracked beam. Officials say the bridge cannot reopen until both steps are completed, and the entire project could take months. 

The I-40 bridge connecting Memphis and the Arkansas city of West Memphis was shut down May 11 after inspectors found a crack in one of two 900-foot (275-meter) horizontal steel beams that are critical for the bridge’s structural integrity. 

River barge traffic under the span was closed for about three days. Road traffic has been rerouted to the nearby Interstate 55 bridge.

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