MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The bridge that carries Interstate 40 across the Mississippi River at Memphis was open Tuesday after being closed for nearly nine hours Monday due to structural concerns.
Engineers closed the Hernando DeSoto Bridge Monday morning after rush hour after finding a bridge pier in a construction zone had settled 3 1/2 inches overnight. Tennessee Department of Transportation chief engineer Paul Degges said the closing was a proactive move that allowed inspectors to take a very thorough look at the bridge that links Memphis and West Memphis, Arkansas.
Traffic was diverted for about nine hours on the I-55 bridge, which runs parallel to I-40.
The settling came during a construction project designed to make the Hernando DeSoto Bridge safer in case of earthquake. The New Madrid Fault Zone extends along the river.
The six-lane span carries more than 35,000 vehicles a day.
Upriver at Minneapolis, the eight-lane I-35W bridge collapsed Aug. 1, killing 13 people. The last body of those known to be missing was found Monday. The bridge was undergoing repairs when it buckled during the evening rush hour. Dozens of cars plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River, some falling on top one of another.