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I-40 bridge closed indefinitely while crews assess severity of cracked beam

The bridge was shut down to all drivers Tuesday afternoon

MEMPHIS, Tenn — A crack in the I-40 bridge has it shut down indefinitely. It was an emergency Tuesday afternoon to close it to all drivers as safety was a major concern.

Dave Parker, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said there is no timeline of when it will open. The crack found in one of the steel beams is a serious problem that might take a while to fix. 

"Anytime an inspection leads to an immediate shut down on a significant structure, like the I-40 bridge, that’s pretty serious," Parker said. 

Crews will be back out Wednesday morning to determine the severity of the crack and how long the bridge needs to be closed. ARDOT said there is no idea yet if a temporary solution can fix it to let traffic flow again. 

"One thing the drone video will tell us is if the crack is getting larger or spreading," Parker said. "If that’s the case, then it could even mean an even longer delay." 

Every day nearly 130,000 vehicles drive over the bridge. It is also just one of a few interstates which crosses the entire country making it a crucial road for trucking and other transportation. 

"Could it go past tomorrow morning? Certainly," Parker said. "There’s always that potential. We’ve got to get in there and see how significant the crack is."