Tennessee DOT discovers additional repairs needed on I-40 bridge

July 7, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Repair work on the I-40 bridge in Memphis may take longer after crews discovered additional repairs needed.

According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, a draft report on the I-40 bridge inspection reveals no failures. However, TDOT did find locations that may need more repairs.

TDOT has directed the contractor to source materials needed for those repairs. It is unclear whether or not this will delay the expected completion date of the end of July. Although there is no detailed schedule, TDOT is maintaining the goal of completion by the end of the month.

Until then, I-40 bridge traffic is still being rerouted to Interstate 55. TDOT is posting estimates of average travel delays for the week every Monday. Those estimates can be found here.

I-40 bridge plate repairs
This photo taken on June 24 shows the first new permanent plate in place on the I-40 bridge. Officials expect a reopening date at the end of July. (Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Transportation)

For the week of July 5, there are no expected delays of an hour or more. An extra delay of about 45 minutes, the longest delay, is expected on the I-55 eastbound from about 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 9. Another 45-minute delay going westbound is expected to occur from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday. However, all other delays are 30 minutes or less, with the vast majority of time slots likely to experience up to 15 minutes of delays or no extra delays at all.

TDOT also has two portable cameras: one monitoring the I-40 bridge and another monitoring traffic at the I-55 Crump interchange.

Those can be viewed here and here. TDOT HELP trucks are stationed on both sides of the I-55 bridge to respond quickly to any incidents and keep lanes open.

On Tuesday, July 6, TDOT announced that the following work on the I-40 bridge would occur this week:

  • Removed all post-tensioning rods, now removing weldment/anchors.
  • Minor miscellaneous drilling remains on some small connection pieces.
  • Final bolting and torqueing are ongoing.
  • Removal of the rigging from the upper truss section.
  • Several miscellaneous bracing and connection pieces that were initially removed to accommodate the work are being re-installed.

The I-40 bridge was shut down on May 11 after a contractor discovered a significant fracture in a steel beam. TDOT and the Arkansas Department of Transportation later discovered that the fracture has been there for at least two years, possibly longer. LL

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Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.