MEMPHIS, TN (WSMV) - Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Clay Bright announced Wednesday the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen under limited traffic while contractors finish the work.
Contractors will have completed all the phase three plating by Friday. They will begin to demobilize, break down platforms, remove equipment and barriers starting with the eastbound direction. They will do this one side at a time as it is the safest scenario for the workers.
All eastbound lanes of I-40 are expected to reopen by 6 a.m. on Monday. The westbound lanes are expected to reopen by Friday, Aug. 6. These reopen dates are barring any complications.
“We know having the bridge closed has been incredibly inconvenient,” Bright said in a news release. “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.”
The bridge remains an active work zone. TDOT asks motorists to pay attention to the interstate DMS, portable message boards and SmartWay for specific traffic information.
The emergency bridge repair project was awarded to Kiewit Infrastructure Group. The selection was based on qualifications, experience and availability of personnel and equipment. Other partners included FHWA, TDOT’s consultant Michael Baker, Inc., and Arkansas Department of Transportation’s consultant HNTB.
“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 in a news release. “We did not know then what all would be involved, but what I do know is we have all been fortunate to have a great team that personally took on this project and worked tirelessly to safely reopen the bridge as soon as possible.”
TDOT shares responsibility for the bridge with the Arkansas Department of Transportation. ArDOT handles the inspections, TDOT the repairs. On May 11, an ArDOT contractor discovered a crack in the bottom side of the bridge truss during a routine inspection and immediately shut down the bridge.
TDOT created a webpage to provide updates on the bridge repair.