Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 14:54

Mississippi River bridge closed at Memphis

Bridge shut down for nine hours after a pier under the span settles several inches

Officials closed a major Mississippi River bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas for nine hours Aug. 27 after a pier under a small approach span settled 3.5 inches overnight in a construction zone.

An inspector noticed the problem on the I-40 approach just after rush hour Monday morning.

After the discovery, both spans were closed and traffic was diverted to the nearby I-55 bridge.

The approach span for the I-40 bridge was still supported by other piers, so the most motorists might have noticed would have been a slight dip, said Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Randy Ort.

Ort said the problem was likely caused by additional, longer pilings being driven to improve the bridge's stability. While crews worked beneath one half of the bridge, the other half was carrying 35,600 vehicles daily.

"The settling was in the columns still under traffic, due to the construction adjacent to it," Ort said.

River bridges have been under scrutiny across the country since the Aug. 1 collapse of the I-35W bridge.

Workers have been improving bridges along I-40 to make them safer in case of earthquakes.

Tennessee Department of Transportation spokeswoman Pamela Marshall said she's not sure that the Minneapolis bridge collapse played a role in the decision to close the bridge.

"It is a bold stance, considering how busy these bridges are, just to shut them down," she said. "It is at the front of everybody's mind. Let's learn from other situations."

AP

Roads&Bridges Videos

 

Videos

Products

  • Plastic Safety Systems Inc. designed RoadQuake 2 Temporary Portable Rumble Strip to reduce accidents and save lives. RoadQuake 2, a...
  • The 26,455-lb (12,000-kg) HR120C-9 roller has a drum width of 6 ft 10 in. (2,100 mm), a drum diameter of 4 ft 11 in. (1,500 mm) and a drum thickness...
  • Animation of a U.S. Bridge Liberty Panel Bridge being assembled and launched. The animated video shows the various steps of assembling this panel...
  • Calbrite’s stainless steel EMT and EMT elbows are now UL/CUL approved. This recent addition to UL/CUL 797A offers Calbrite’s customers a cost-...
  • International Cybernetics’ portable road profiler gives accurate real-time smoothness results. The system can mount to any vehicle and will collect...
  • DuraHook allows municipalities to get higher utilization from truck chassis by rolling on and off in minutes. The DuraHook is self-contained with a 6...
  • SAFENCE High-Tension Cable Barrier from Gregory is a NCHRP 350 TL-3 and TL-4 approved tensioned wire rope cable barrier system. SAFENCE provides...
  • Outokumpu offers stainless steel reinforcement bar in duplex LDX 2101, 2304, and 2205 in both metric and imperial sizes––all produced to ASTM 955...
  • BOMAG’s Tangential Oscillation Compaction is optimized to target bridge structures, building proximity and intermediate/finish rolling applications....
  • Viewpoint V6 Software is a fully scalable and integrated SQL/.NET solution tailored specifically for mid-to-large-sized construction companies. An...