MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The United States Coast Guard has issued a waterway restriction Wednesday on part of the Lower Mississippi River after a crack was discovered in the I-40/ Hernando Desoto Bridge.
All vessel traffic near the bridge was stopped between mile marker 736 and 737 until further notice. At least 16 vessels with a total of 229 barges are parked up and down the Mississippi River, the Coast Guard said.
“The Coast Guard is currently working with Arkansas Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and river industry stakeholders on this developing situation,” said Capt. Ryan Rhodes, captain of the Port of Memphis. “Based on the current information available, we have closed a portion of the Lower Mississippi River out of an abundance of caution. The captain of the port is monitoring the situation and will continue to ensure the safety of the maritime environment and surrounding community.”
The Tennessee Department of Transportation said Wednesday that they are in the process of evaluating whether or not the bridge is stable enough to allow for barge traffic to continue. They couldn’t put a timetable on when that announcement will be made.