The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) announced Wednesday (July 28) that the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge over the Mississippi River will reopen Monday, Aug. 2 under limited traffic while contractors finish their work.
ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor made the announcement and outlined the reopening plan.
She said contractors will complete all of the phase three plating by Friday, July 30.
“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,” Tudor said in a press release.
The reopening plan is as follows:
· 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
Talk Business & Politics reported earlier this month that officials expected to reopen the bridge in late July or early August.
The I-40 bridge, the busiest freight carrying bridge in the U.S., was shut down May 11 after a fracture that threatened the integrity of the bridge was discovered. The national flow of goods from north to south and from east to west came to a standstill. Despite efforts to re-route traffic onto the I-55 bridge, the economic consequences have been devastating to West Memphis, the surrounding communities and the trucking industry.
West Memphis officials estimate the city’s sales tax collections have dropped by 25% since the closure, and re-routed traffic has damaged and choked off streets throughout the largest city in Crittenden County.
Initially, the trucking industry estimated it was losing about $2.4 million per day, but changes made last month to improve traffic flow and delay times on the I-55 bridge reduced that estimate to $900,000 per day.