MEMPHIS, Tennessee — New data released Wednesday showed just how severe the I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge traffic shutdown is having on congestion nearby on the older I-55 bridge.
A national traffic data company - HERE Technologies - found traffic worsened five times more on that bridge after the I-40 bridge closed due to a major steel beam crack.
"I think it's extremely significant," Kyle Jackson with HERE Technologies said.
National traffic data experts are taking notice of what's happening in Memphis.
"We are seeing a huge spike in congestion levels," Jackson said.
This, as the indefinitely shut down I-40 bridge is causing major headaches - and a slower snarl - about three miles south, on the decades older I-55 bridge. HERE Technologies discovered the congestion on the I-55 bridge surged from 10% the day before the I-40 bridge shutdown to more than 50% after.
"It's definitely way more, much bigger of a spike than we would normally see," Jackson said.
Lost time means lost money for commerce. The Arkansas Trucking Association said GPS data showed what had been an eight minute drive from West Memphis, AR to I-240 on the I-40 bridge is now an 84 minute average drive across the I-55 bridge.
"We know something like this will definitely delay those packages that you've ordered online and arriving at that location. It might delay food deliveries," Jackson said.
Wednesday, TDOT led crews continued their follow up review of the I-55 bridge, with the assistance of a drone - even the Coast Guard. While the bridge passed its ARDOT inspection last summer, TDOT wants to double check the bridge's structural integrity out of an abundance of caution.
"Some of these roads and bridges haven't been updated in such a long time that you know it doesn't have the capacity. And especially when we lose access it definitely causes a bigger issue," Jackson said.