Traffic and hopefully business set to resume flowing across I-40 bridge

Memphis, Tenn. — Memphis Chamber Chief Public Policy Officer Bobby White said the I-40 bridge is a major lifeline to the city.

With its reopening Saturday night, he’s anticipating a major boost for local business.

RELATED: I-40 Bridge Eastbound lanes to reopen Saturday night

“That bridge across the Mississippi is back open and these businesses that have struggled because of the disruption there, they can anticipate things are going to pick back up and we couldn’t be happier about it,” White said.

According to TDOT, the east-bound lanes on I-40 will reopen tonight at 10.

RELATED: West Memphis business owners hope bridge’s reopening will bring customers back

Over the past couple of months, commuters have had to take the I-55 bridge, causing a lot of traffic.

“Coming across the Mississippi, millions of dollars in freight,” White said. “The reality of it is, it’s not just that it’s a bridge across the Mississippi, it’s the fact that it’s a bridge connected to what I continue to say is the most consequential city as it relates to transportation, logistics, and distribution and that’s Memphis, Tennessee.”

FOX13 spoke with Ray Allen who owns Down South Wings and Grill. He said he’s felt the impact of people not wanting to deal with traffic.

IN PHOTOS: A journey through the I-40 Bridge repairs

Allen said he’s had to start delivering orders to customers.

“They need to open it because the traffic has been so bad over here causing hour delays and hour and a half delays so they need to open it up and hopefully everything is safe with them opening it back up,” Allen said.

RELATED: I-40 Bridge detours causing traffic problems in West Memphis

White said the closure has also caused disruption for businesses that rely on packages and freight traffic across the bridge.

He said tonight’s opening will offer relief.

“They say light at the end of the tunnel,” White said. “I will say a spotlight at the end of the bridge or headlight at the end of the bridge.”

According to TDOT, the westbound lanes could reopen before next Friday.

TODT said the bridge is still an active work zone so drivers are asked to pay attention to portable message boards and SmartWay for traffic information.