MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Starting Friday night, tens of thousands of drivers who use the I-55 Mississippi River Bridge will have to find an alternate route due to a scheduled closure.
The closure is expected to start at 8:00 p.m. The bridge will reopen Monday, June 12, at 6:00 a.m. Friday afternoon, crews were preparing to put out road closure signs.
“It’s gone be real stressed because everybody is going to be using the new bridge and traffic gone be backed up real bad,” said Dale Dean, a truck driver.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation is closing the I-55 Mississippi River Bridge to work on major projects in the area and says it will also impact local roads.
“We’ll be fitting bridge beams for the new Wisconsin Street bridge,” says TDOT spokesperson Nichole Lawrence. “We’ll be doing some deck repair on the I-55 bridge. We will also be working on that East end part of the bridge coming into Memphis to build a new crossover. “
On average, TDOT says about 60,000 cars travel on the bridge daily. During the weekend closure, drivers will have to use the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge.
It’s a temporary inconvenience that comes with the territory for some truckers.
“If I’m in traffic, I’m in traffic,” said Rudy Vela, another truck driver. “It’s a lot of guys out there that don’t like it. They’re beeping their horns and they’re really outraged but it doesn’t really bother me.”
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And for others it’s a headache they’d learned can only be fixed with patience, remembering the almost 3-month closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge back in 2021 after a crack was discovered.
“It makes my job very much harder because you can either just come sit over here in the traffic or find an alternate route,” Dean said.
TDOT says no matter what happens this weekend the bridge will reopen as planned Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. When the bridge reopens you will notice a new traffic pattern in the area.