MID-SOUTH — Tennessee Department of Transportation officials gave an update Wednesday morning on the indefinite closure of the bridge.
There is no timeline on when the I-40 bridge could reopen to traffic, officials say.
A TDOT official released images of the crack via Twitter, saying that it could take a couple of weeks to complete the inspection into the crack.
Officials said they noticed rust in the crack of the steel and believe the crack has been there at least a week.
The U.S. DOT has given emergency management authority for an emergency contract to get the bridge repaired as soon as possible, according to TDOT commissioner Clay Bright.
The I-55 bridge will be monitored 24 hours a day to clear any traffic incidents.
Officials are monitoring the capacity of the I-40 bridge to hold its own weight as well as that of traffic, TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges said.
Approximately 50,000 vehicles drive over the bridge each day. 25% are trucks.
Officials are looking into whether the bridge is safe for inspections and even safe for repairs.
Degges said the bridge closure could go on for weeks or months, but he could not speculate on a timeline.
TDOT officials are hopeful that barge traffic along the Mississippi River can resume in a few days.
TDOT is responsible for repairs and maintenance of the bridge. ARDOT is responsible for inspections, which happen every two years.
An ARDOT inspector noticed the crack on the first day of inspection, then called 911.
Degges said he could not speculate on when the crack happened.
Cox Media Group