MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The southbound lanes of I-55 were shut down Sunday night after a big rig caught on fire near West McLemore.
The Memphis Fire Department said there was no way to put out the fire, so they had to let it burn.
I-55 has already been bumper to bumper since the I-40 bridge closed three weeks ago. This accident only underscores the importance of getting that bridge back open as soon as possible.
Progress is being made on the I-40 bridge. Crews have attached giant steel plates to the broken beam, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is expected to release a timeline for re-opening sometime this week.
U.S Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will be in Memphis on Thursday to look at the bridge and push President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. He made his rounds on talk shows Sunday and spoke about the Republicans’ counter proposal that he says falls short of what the president wants to spend.
“The president’s counter offer was a $1.7 trillion package and again that represents our coming off our original view by half a trillion dollars. It is encouraging to see Republicans talking about getting to the neighborhood of a trillion. Of course when you start trying to make it apples to apples comparing what would have been spent anyway looking at the categories, that’s where the devil really is in the details and those are the things we’re continuing to discuss with them,” he said.
There’s already enough money to pay for the I-40 bridge repairs, but more money will be needed in the future to maintain it. And there’s talk of building a third bridge in Memphis.
State Rep. Joe Towns and Dwayne Thompson of Memphis have re-started that debate.