If you are thinking about visiting Memphis, Tn in the coming months, or are driving through on your trip east or west, you will need a new route.
The Hernando de Soto Bridge that connects Arkansas to Memphis on the I-40 corridor will be closed indefinitely due to a fracture in the bridge’s structural beams. A crack was discovered in one of the steel girders and now, it may take months or longer for the bridge to reopen.
The de Soto bridge is a major traffic thoroughfare and is one of only two that connect the two sides across the Mississippi River. This is a significant change in traffic as commuters will now have to detour as well.
The congestion is going to grow significantly in the coming months on I-55 where Harahan Bridge now is the only operating bridge connecting the two states into the city of Memphis. I-40 is a major highway that begins in Wilmington, Nc, and connects Memphis to both Nashville and Little Rock.
Travelers should be aware that they can either take the 269 loops around Memphis into Arkansas, bypassing the city altogether, or take the I-55 detour over that bridge into the city. Taking the 240 bypasses will only bring you back to the I-55 bridge where you will still have to cross into Arkansas.
Coming from the Arkansas side you can take I-69 to 269 and avoid Memphis or again, take the Hahana Bridge in 55.
Memphis is a huge draw for travelers visiting both east and west of the city because it is the home of Rock and Roll legend Elvis Presley and one of the top influential musical cities in the region.
While the weather can create havoc on bridges, this 48-year-old bridge’s crack is believed to be stress-related.
In any case, if you are planning a trip that takes you through Memphis, break out the GPS or map and avoid if you can.