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River traffic resumes on Mississippi River after crack found in Memphis bridge

Interstate 40 Bridge Closed
Posted at 2:10 PM, May 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-15 23:38:41-04

The U.S. Coast Guard on Friday lifted the waterway restriction on the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River near Memphis as hundreds of barges waited their turn to cross under the bridge.

A large crack found in the I-40 Hernando DeSoto bridge this week prompted its immediate closure, including water and vehicle traffic. As of Friday morning, 62 vessels and 1,058 barges were in queue, the Coast Guard reported.

"Based on information provided to us by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard has determined that transit under the I-40 bridge is safe for maritime traffic," said Coast Guard Capt. Ryan Rhodes, Captain of the Port of Memphis.

River traffic is now allowed to resume, but officials with the Tennessee and Arkansas Departments of Transportation are still working to safely repair and reopen the bridge to vehicular traffic.

Design teams are working on an interim repair design to provide the needed strength to reopen the bridge to vehicles, allowing time for a new bridge component to replace the current 37' long damaged section.

The crack was discovered by crews inspecting the bridge. They immediately called 911 and reported the dangerous situation, saying the bridge, which links Tennessee and Arkansas, needed to be closed and everyone needed to be off of it as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Mississippi River traffic resumes under damaged bridge

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