​VITAL I-40 BRIDGE CROSSING MISSISSIPPI RIVERS REOPENS FOR FIRST TIME IN 3 MONTHS

The Hernando de Soto Bridge, a major bridge on Interstate 40, that carries about 60,000 vehicles daily, crosses the Mississippi River and connects West Memphis, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee, has reopened to traffic in both directions on Monday afternoon.

The bridge was closed nearly three months ago, after a routine inspection found a structural crack within the elements of a steel box beam and forced its closure for repairs on May 11. 

Both Arkansas and Tennessee share responsibility for the bridge, as the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) handles inspections and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) handles repairs, they said in a statement.

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

Bright added, “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. 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.

Original construction of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, a double-arch bridge, was started May 2, 1968 and is two lanes in each direction with a length of 9,432.6 feet.  It was opened to automobile traffic on August 2, 1973 at a final price tag of approximately $57 million.  A dedication ceremony for the bridge opening was held on August, 17, 1973.

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