Arkansas Trucking Association

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Arkansas Trucking Association Responds to I-40 Bridge Closure

The I-40 bridge connecting Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark., closed Tuesday afternoon after a routine bridge inspection revealed a significant crack in one of the two steel beams crucial to the structural integrity of the bridge. When inspectors found the fracture, they called 911 and immediately closed the structure to traffic, including barges traveling underneath the bridge.


The I-40 bridge typically handles 40,000 vehicles a day, 12,500 of them being commercial trucks. All traffic has been deferred to the I-55 bridge until further notice. The I-55 bridge already carries more than 55,000 vehicles a day, 14,000 of them commercial trucks. The bridge was last inspected in September 2020.

“It’s fortunate this fracture was discovered during a routine inspection and not as part of an investigation following a catastrophic incident,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton. “However, it doesn’t change the fact that this closure will have a significant ripple effect on the already strained supply chain. Between increased consumer demand, the driver shortage and now a major bottleneck in Memphis, shippers and consumers across the country should be prepared for longer shipping times until the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge is re-opened.”

Officials from Arkansas Department of Transportation and Tennessee Department of Transportation will need to complete further inspection and analysis before they can determine a timeline for repair and whether the bridge can accommodate any traffic during the repair work. However, travelers and carriers should prepare for the bridge to be impassable for weeks, not days. To complete that diagnostic analysis, ARDOT Director Lorrie Tudor said that experts and nationally recognized engineers have been recruited.

The Hernando de Soto Bridge on I-40 was opened in 1973 and is shared by Arkansas and Tennessee. ARDOT is in charge of regular inspections, while TDOT manages maintenance and the two states share the cost.

“The damage and subsequent closure of the I-40 bridge – a major connector of the National Highway System – only underscores the vital need for extensive updates and expansions to our crumbling infrastructure system,” Newton said.

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Arkansas Trucking Association
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You are here: Home News In Brief Arkansas Trucking Association Responds to I-40 Bridge Closure