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TDOT hopes to reopen Hernando DeSoto Bridge over Mississippi River by the end of July

Workers have fixed the initial fracture
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Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 07, 2021

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WTVF) — Major progress has been made on the Hernando DeSoto Bridge in West Tennessee that has been shut down since early May.

A stretch of Interstate 40 over the Mississippi River was closed after inspectors found a large crack in a beam under the bridge, which connects Memphis to Arkansas. The closure has impacted road trips, trucking hauling goods across the region and even water freight as crews shut down nautical traffic for at one point.

memphis crack
A crack found during a routine inspection of the Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River has closed the roadway.

Almost two months later, the initial repair is now complete and the crack is gone.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is now racing to reopen the bridge. But before the department can, crews have to remove temporary anchors and rigging and reinstall bracing. More than 500 weld connections have been tested and nine need more steal, leaving a lot more to do before TDOT reopens the bridge.

TDOT has set a goal to reopen the bridge by the end of the month. Until then, drivers are advised to use the Interstate 55 Crump interchange and allow for extra time on commutes through the area.