MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Crews are working on ten more spots on the I-40 Bridge the Tennessee Department of Transportation says need more inspection.
The initial fracture that led to the shutdown nearly two months ago has been repaired.
TDOT says the target date for re-opening is still the end of July into early August. They don’t expect these additional repairs to push the date back.
They said opening safely is the number one priority.
“Over the holiday weekend, we did release and remove those post-tensioning bars. So that was a lot of progress we made from the weekend,” Nichole Lawrence with TDOT said.
Lawrence said there’s still more work to be done. She said bridge inspectors found 10 ‘areas of concern’ that need new plating.
“When we say an area of concern, it’s just something that needs a more in-depth look,” she said. “We’ve really got to make sure we review these areas that the initial inspectors found with our structural engineers.”
Lawrence expects a final inspection to take place next week to determine if those 10 spots are the only ones that need repair. Meanwhile, she said work continues around the clock.
“Because the initial fracture is repaired doesn’t mean there’s still not work happening,” she said. There’s still a work platform, the hoisting system, there’s lots of things we had to build and put into place to be able to make those repairs.”
Dave Parker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation said the traffic pattern changes put into place a few weeks ago to ease traffic across the I-55 bridge seem to be working. Until the I-40 bridge reopens, he’s asking drivers for patience.
“My message would be we got a few more weeks to go,” he said. “We’re still looking at end of July, early August opening that bridge. So just hang in there, we’re almost there.”
TDOT is in the process of completing the design of those new plates needed for the 10 areas of concern this week.
In its update on July 6, TDOT said the following work is happening this week:
- Removed all post-tensioning (PT) rods, now removing weldment/anchors
- Minor miscellaneous drilling remains on some small connection pieces
- Final bolting and torquing are ongoing
- Removal of the rigging from the upper truss section
- Several miscellaneous bracing and connection pieces that were initially removed to accommodate the work are being re-installed
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