File photo shows the Hernando DeSoto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo: Trevor Birchett/CC BY-SA 4.0

Over 700 Barges Stranded by Mississippi River Closure in Memphis Due to Bridge Crack

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4879
May 13, 2021

The U.S. Coast Guard said 44 vessels with a total of 709 barges are now in the queue as a 1-miles stretch of the Mississippi River remains closed after a large crack was discovered in the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday.

A waterway restriction closes the river to all vessel traffic between mile marker 736 and mile marker 737.

“River reopening is dependent on [Tennessee Department of Transportation] inspection results,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter.

Photo shows part of the crack in the I-40
bridge. TDOT Photo

The crack was discovered in a crucial structural support beam near the center span of the bridge on Wednesday during a routine inspection of the bridge by the Arkansas Department of Transportation, which immediately shut the bridge down to road traffic.

“For the motoring public’s safety, the bridge will be entirely shut down while crews investigate the crack’s extent further and then repair the problem, which could take some time,” the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) said in an update.

“TDOT shares responsibility for the bridge with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT). An ArDOT contractor discovered the problem during a routine inspection and immediately shut down the bridge. It is unclear, at this time, how long the repairs will take. Detours are in place in Tennessee and Arkansas. Traffic is being rerouted in both directions to I-55 as an alternate route across the river. River traffic is also shut down until further notice.”

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