West Memphis makes plans for emergency response while bridge closed

I-40 bridge

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The I-40 bridge closure is making the jobs of first responders trying to help people in need more difficult, but West Memphis’ mayor hopes help is on the way.

The bumper-to-bumper traffic on the one remaining bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas at Memphis would make travel for emergency vehicles difficult.

An ambulance makes its way through bumper-to-bumper traffic in West Memphis, Arkansas.

“This has paralyzed our city,” West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said, but “we’re doing everything that we need to try and get people the help they need.”

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He says his team of police, firefighters and other responders are doing what they can given the circumstances.

He’s asking people who are sick to try and avoid the I-55 bridge and go to Baptist Crittenden.

“If it’s a Trauma 1 situation where you have to get to Regional One we’ll get a helicopter over here to get you transported,” McClendon said.

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He’s asked Arkansas’ governor for help getting smaller vehicles to make it through the traffic jams.

“From motorcycles, for the police department to get through this traffic, and ATVS as well as some emergency ATVS with stretchers on them, in case there is an accident on the bridge,” he said.

They’re hoping to get some of those smaller vehicles by next week.

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