I-40 Bridge Eastbound lanes to reopen Saturday night

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Good news for Mid-South drivers: TDOT announced the I-40 Bridge will reopen ahead of schedule.

Eastbound lanes will now reopen at 10 p.m. Saturday night, July 31.

It is possible the westbound lanes could reopen before Friday, August 6.

“The contractor is ahead of schedule and the eastbound lanes will now reopen tomorrow night!” TDOT said Friday. “It is possible the westbound lanes could reopen before Friday. We will keep you posted on the exact day and time.”

Reopening Plan:

  • Saturday, July 31 at 10 p.m. CST: All I-40 Eastbound Lanes Open
  • Friday, August 6 (time TBA): All I-40 Westbound Lanes Open

Less than three months after inspectors found a fractured beam and closed the Hernando de Soto Bridge, traffic will start rolling on it this weekend.

PHOTOS: I-40 Bridge closed after crack discovered

TDOT and ARDOT had originally said the reopening would be done in stages with the eastbound lanes opening Monday, Aug. 2, and the westbound lanes opening four days later on Friday, Aug. 6.

But on Friday, TDOT announced the reopening date for the eastbound lanes had been moved up to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The bridge remains an active work zone and TDOT asks motorists to pay attention to the interstate DMS, portable message boards, and SmartWay for specific traffic information.

Load testing was completed on the bridge Wednesday. The purpose of the testing was to generate standardized performance data using known truck weights at specific locations along the length of the bridge. The data collected will help rate the bridge’s performance in the future.

RELATED: I-40 Bridge engineers find 16 more locations that need repairing, TDOT says

The testing was not connected to the opening of the bridge to traffic, TDOT said.

Inspectors shut the bridge down on May 11 after they found a critical break in one of the beams.

Since then, crews have worked in three different phases to make the necessary repairs.

Old debates over the possible construction of a third bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee have been resurrected. It’s a project estimated to cost between $449 and $642 million in 2006.

RELATED: Lawmakers call for third bridge over Mississippi River in Memphis

Questions over the construction of a third bridge will likely continue for some time, but drivers at least now have an answer to perhaps their most pressing traffic concern.