Thursday, July 29, 2021

DeSoto Bridge to reopen July 26 under limited traffic

Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) has announced that the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen Friday, July 30, under limited traffic while contractors finish the work.

Contractors will complete all of the phase three plating by the end of this week. They will begin to demobilize, break down platforms, and remove equipment and barriers starting with the eastbound direction. They will do this one side at a time to maintain the safest scenario for the workers, ARDOT officials said.

Reopening Plan:

  • Friday, July 30 Limited Opening, expect delays.
  • Monday, August 2 by 6:00 a.m. CST: All I-40 Eastbound Lanes Open
  • Friday, August 6 (Time TBA): All I-40 Westbound Lanes Open
  • *Please note this schedule is barring any complications.*

Back in May, ARDOT speculated that it would be the end of July, first of August to work through all the phases needed to reopen the bridge,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright. “We did not know then what all would be involved, but what I do know is we have all been fortunate to have had a great team that personally took on this project and worked tirelessly to safely reopen the bridge as soon as possible.”

ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor added, “The success we are celebrating today is a result of amazing collaboration and effort by the team that was formed immediately following the closure. We thank TDOT for their excellent leadership of the team in reopening the bridge in record time. We also thank the public for their patience.”

ARDOT shares responsibility for the bridge with the TDOT; ARDOT handles the inspections, TDOT the repairs. On May 11, an ARDOT consultant discovered a crack in the bottom side of the bridge truss during a routine inspection and immediately shut down the bridge.

The bridge remains an active work zone. Officials ask motorists to pay attention to the Interstate digital message signs, portable message boards, and IDriveArkansas for specific traffic information.

Meanwhile, traffic remains detoured to cross the Mississippi River either via I-55 or Highway 49 bridges Motorists can call or text Arkansas’s Traveler Information hotline at 501-569-2374, utilize SmartWay or call Tennessee’s Traveler Information hotline at 877-244-0065 for the latest traffic information. ARDOT has also set up a webpage dedicated to the bridge’s repair here.