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Truck drivers are "ecstatic" the I-40 bridge is reopening

The I-40 bridge will allow traffic in the eastbound lanes starting Monday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The days of rerouting, traffic jams on the I-55 bridge, and the stress of the Hernando DeSoto bridge being closed are finally coming to an end. 

Truck drivers, like Mark Simino, are ecstatic the I-40 bridge is reopening after months of repairs to a steel beam on it. 

"It was humbling," Simino said. "It doesn’t take much to put a dilemma on our society."

Silica Transport, Inc., the Arkansas-based company Simino drives for, had to build in extra time for drivers to get the job done. Tim Parson with STI said the sometimes hours-long traffic standstills on the I-55 bridge would turn into a loss of business for the company. 

"It takes an extra 30 minutes to an hour for us to go from West Memphis to Memphis to load every day," Parson said. "Then we got to watch traffic to make sure the drivers have time to get there and back home."

STI lost at least $100,000 in the months the bridge was closed. In turn, affecting more than just the company.

"In the trucking industry, to detour around that’s added fuel costs and if you’re not charging for that it goes back to the customer," Simino said.

Simino said this experience has served as a reminder of how vital the Hernando DeSoto bridge is. 

"You have the Dyersburg bridge, you have the Helena and the Greenville Mississippi bridges, but there goes your expense going up," Simino said. "Your products would be charged more transporting out of the way so it would affect our economy and prices."