MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The northbound lanes of I-55 heading from Memphis toward Arkansas were blocked Wednesday morning due to police activity at the bridge.
By about 10 a.m., those lanes were back open, but not before causing a major traffic backup on Interstate 55 approaching the city’s only remaining bridge over the Mississippi River.
Police said they saw a car parked on the side of the bridge and a woman standing on the rail attempting to jump. They managed to stop her, and she was taken in for evaluation.
The I-55 bridge is currently the only link between Tennessee and Arkansas at Memphis, since the I-40 bridge was shut down for structural problems May 11. TDOT says on average 67,000 vehicles are using the I-55 bridge a day.
The police presence formed a long traffic backup on I-55 as far as Mallory. It also filled up smaller streets like south Third and Crump.
Delivery driver Melvin Robinson said the continued bridge shutdown was causing him problems on his route.
“It takes me sometimes two hours to make a pickup and another two hours to make a delivery, so what I normally do in a day, it’s taking me two days almost,” he said.
He says because of the added traffic drivers must get creative to find short cuts, but even then he can’t seem to catch a break.
“Everybody is trying to find a different route and every time you find one it clogs up,” he said.
Wednesday’s incident was the second time this week traffic on I-55 has been impacted. Late Sunday night a tractor trailer caught fire, forcing closure of the interstate.