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TDOT: Phase 3 of bridge repair will require extra work

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16 reinforcement plates needed, completion date up in the

air after inspection

[email protected] TDOT reported phase 2 repairs to the major crack in the Interstate 40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge superstructure nearly completed.

Crews prepared for phase 3 repairs to areas of concern uncovered during ultrasound tests and other top to bottom inspections.

All along, TDOT officials indicated if its detailed inspection turned up more damage the bridge reopening would be delayed. The department never issued a promised date to finish.

The closed bridge forced a detour to the Interstate 55 Memphis and Arkansas Bridge for the last nine weeks. TDOT Region Four Community Relations Officer Nicole Lewis delivered updates on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This week, the contractor continued finishing phase 2, the repair of the main crack. Lewis listed the weekend scheduled repairs consisting of, final bolting and torquing, removal and installation of miscellaneous pieces, priming and painting of phase 2 work and installing access platforms for phase 3 work.

Bridge inspectors conducted ongoing ultrasound testing on more than 500 weld connections since the bridge closed May 11.

TDOT ordered 16 additional reinforcing plates to cover the areas of concern discovered during inspection. More plated were shipped. The repair campaign marched forward on two fronts, manufacturing and installation.

'Upon further review of the 800 plus page inspection report, the consulting engineers have identified a total of 16 plate locations that are critical to repair to open the bridge for traffic,' said Lewis. 'Prep work is being done now, with the first shipment of plates planned this week. We are currently completing the design of those plates. Material is being sourced with fabrication to follow. The safety

Continued on Page 2 BRIDGE (cont.)

of the workers and the public is our number one priority.'

TDOT HELP trucks are stationed on both sides of the I-55 bridge to respond quickly to any incidents and keep lanes open.

TDOT SmartWay.com cameras posted at the east and west approaches of I55 for live traffic information.

TDOT began providing traffic delay data for the driving public. All interstate traffic in the Memphis area is being diverted to I55.

'To help you plan ahead, every Monday, we are posting estimated average travel delays for the week on our website so you can see which days and times to avoid,' added Lewis. 'You can also view real-time digital message signs alerting you of any incidents.

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