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I-40 bridge to reopen late July, early August officials say



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – The I-40 bridge repair should be completed in late July or early August officials say.

According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, repairs to the bridge that connects West Memphis to Memphis are progressing rapidly and the repair is expected to be finished no later than early August.

The repair project was divided in two phases and the first phase is already finished. Currently, crews are in phase two, ArDOT public information officer Dave Parker said.

The initial crack on the primary support beam has been completely repaired. There have been 500 “weld spots” performed by workers. Each spot had to be inspected and about 10 spots need additional work, Parker said.

“They didn’t know what they were going to find out of 500 weld spots they only found 10 that need more work so that’s good,” Parker said. “They have to inspect everything before the bridge can be opened.”

The I-40 bridge is the busiest freight-carrying bridge in the U.S. and it was closed on May 11 due to the urgent repairs. As a result of the bridge closure, economic damages have been devastating for the surrounding areas including West Memphis, surrounding communities and the tracking industry. Officials tried to re-route the traffic onto the I-55 bridge but it’s more than obvious this bridge doesn’t have the capacity to handle the traffic.

According to latest reports, the trucking industry is losing $2.4 million per day. However, the latest efforts for re-routing the traffic have eased the waiting time and trucking industry damages were lowered to $900,000.