The OOIDA tour trailer stops in West Memphis, Ark.

February 16, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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The OOIDA tour trailer stops in West Memphis, Ark., near the I-40 bridge that was closed last year because a huge crack was found in one of its main beams.

Marty Ellis and the Spirit of the American Trucker are scheduled to be at the West Memphis Petro on Feb. 18-19. The truck stop is between two interstate highways. From I-40, it is at Exit 280, and from I-55 it is Exit 4.

 

There are 280 parking places for tractor-trailers at the West Memphis Petro. There is an IHOP coming soon, says the website, but that won’t help much on this stop.

The infamous I-40 bridge

Last year, there were a lot of headlines about how the cracked-beam I-40 bridge at West Memphis was closed in May. That is just east of the West Memphis Petro. The crack was at a welded splice. The bridge fully reopened in early August after $10 million in repairs were done to it.

More than 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, and with about 30% of that traffic being commercial vehicles, according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Arkansas and Tennessee share responsibility for the bridge, which originally opened in 1973. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is responsible for inspecting it, while the Tennessee DOT is responsible for making repairs.

It was determined during a Federal Highway Administration investigation that a bridge inspector missed the crack during inspections in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020. That inspector has been fired.

The I-55 Mississippi River Bridge is a short distance south, and it carried much of the traffic diverted from I-40. It was completed in 1949.

 ‘Self-certifying’ trainers

On the Friday broadcast of Land Line Now, Ellis discussed comments from some drivers about the “self-certifying” of trainers on the FMCSA’s trainer registry. Listen in on the discussion on this and a few other topics below.

Listen to the Land Line Now broadcast here

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see OOIDA’s tour trailer, stop by and say hello. Ellis looks forward to visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. There are copies of Land Line Magazine to pick up there. You can join or renew your membership for $10 off the regular price at The Spirit. Face masks are available at The Spirit for anyone with a commercial driver’s license.

After Jackson, Ellis is scheduled to stop in West Memphis, Ark., and then Matthews, Mo.

Here is the schedule for The Spirit. LL

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Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.