Phase One of repairs on I-40 Bridge begin as steel plates arrive in Memphis, TDOT says

Memphis, Tenn. — Brandon Akins said Saturday was huge in the continued work to get the I-40 Bridge back open for traffic.

The District 49 operations engineer said steel plates were delivered today.

“Today is the actual start of repairs,” Akins said. “It really triggers a domino effect to where we can get this bridge back open.”

RELATED: Steel plates for phase one of I-40 Bridge repair to be delivered Saturday, TDOT says

The importance of this?

Akins said Phase One of the repair process can now begin.

He said a large steel plate is about 50-foot-long while the smaller plates are a little bit shorter.

Akins said the goal is for the plates to carry the load throughout Phase One, making sure contractors have a safe environment to perform the major work that is coming up in Phase Two.

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He said the process will take a few days. This includes drilling over 400 bolts to put the plates in place to support the fractured beam.

“Those bolts will be drilled in right into the side of the box beam,” he said. “Again, we do have a guy that will be inside that box beam feeding the bolts through.”

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Akins said these plates are crucial to support the heavy gear needed to get to work.

“After Phase One is completed here in a few days, we’ll continue the design work on phase 2,” Akins said. “Phase two really consists of removing and replacing the entire damaged piece.”

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When it comes to when the bridge can open again, Akins said that’s still unknown.

“I spoke to our design team earlier today,” he said. “They are working around the clock with our contractors, with TDOT structures division to get this design ready and approved. We will go immediately into the procurement stage of the materials and we’re gonna complete this as quick as possible.”