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TDOT: 'Getting close' to an opening date for I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge

TDOT said all 17 plates are in place and being installed. Last week, TDOT said the opening was likely delayed until August.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 7/27/2021 - The Tennessee Department of Transportation said they are "getting close" to an opening date for the I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge over the Mississippi River, which has been shut down since May.

You can read the latest update from TDOT in full below: 

"Contractors were able to make significant progress over the weekend. All 17 plates are in place. Drilling, bolting, and torqueing are ongoing. A reminder the complete installation of these plates is a process that also involves the removal of the lateral bracing, modification of the gusset connection plate, and reinstallation of the lateral bracing. Once the last bolt is torqued on the plate, these items can be completed. On Wednesday, we will be load testing the bridge to monitor the performance using the existing sensors on the bridge. The data will be used to monitor how the stresses are transferred throughout the bridge support system. We do not have an exact opening date yet, but we are getting close. A schedule will be shared as soon as it’s available.

A reminder, we have added two new portable cameras: One to monitor work on the I-40 bridge and one to monitor traffic at the I-55 Crump Interchange.

All interstate traffic in the Memphis area is being diverted to I-55. To help you plan ahead, every Monday, we are posting estimated average travel delays for the week on our website so you can see which days and times to avoid. You can also view real-time digital message signs alerting you of any incidents.

TDOT HELP trucks are stationed on both sides of the I-55 bridge to respond quickly to any incidents and keep lanes open. Below are direct links to the TDOT SmartWay cameras posted at the east and west approaches of I-55 for live traffic information.

We are holding daily meetings with ARDOT, our consultants, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Memphis Police Department, and FHWA to develop and expedite the repair project while managing traffic along the alternate routes."

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7/23/2021 - The Tennessee Department of Transportation said Friday that work on Phase 3 of the repairs is likely to delay the reopening of the I-40 Hernando de Soto bridge until August.

TDOT said the delay comes from getting a total of 17 plates installed – the last four of which arrived Friday. 13 plates have been “rough-set.”

You can read the full release on the latest on repairs below:

Contractors are progressing on the phase three repairs. There is now a total of 17 plates. Thirteen of the 17 plates have been at least “rough-set.” The last four plates are arriving today and will be set over the next few days. Aside from the drilling, bolting, and torqueing, installation of these plates is a process that also involves the removal of the lateral bracing, modification of the gusset connection plate, and reinstallation of the lateral bracing. Once the last bolt is torqued on the plate, these items can be completed. This work will likely push us into the first part of August in opening the bridge to traffic. We will have more of a specific schedule next week.

Phase 3 Plate Installation

A reminder, we have added two new portable cameras: One to monitor work on the I-40 bridge and one to monitor traffic at the I-55 Crump Interchange.

All interstate traffic in the Memphis area is being diverted to I-55. To help you plan ahead, every Monday, we are posting estimated average travel delays for the week on our website so you can see which days and times to avoid. You can also view real-time digital message signs alerting you of any incidents.

TDOT HELP trucks are stationed on both sides of the I-55 bridge to respond quickly to any incidents and keep lanes open. Below are direct links to the TDOT SmartWay cameras posted at the east and west approaches of I-55 for live traffic information.

We are holding daily meetings with ARDOT, our consultants, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Memphis Police Department, and FHWA to develop and expedite the repair project while managing traffic along the alternate routes.