Construction crews install eight steel plates on I-40 bridge
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When it comes to repairs for the I-40 bridge, the number one concern is safety. Crews are working 24/7 to fix the bridge after a large crack was spotted on one of its beams last month. Local 24 News Reporter, Brittani Moncrease, got a first-hand look at the bridge as construction moves forward.
It is no easy task and certainly, one that requires efficiency. A little over a month after spotting a huge crack on the I-40 bridge, construction crews are now in phase two of repairs.
“Phase two consists of two major components. The first component is the post tensioning process itself,” said Brandon Akins, TDOT Operations Engineer.
That means getting rid of the tension on that cracked beam. That fractured piece is now completely gone.
“Right now, we’ve got about 1.2 million pounds of tension being relieved off of the fractured member. We were able to cut the actual fractured member out. We’re now moving on to the second component of phase two which is steel rehabilitation,” said Akins.
They are drilling and installing eight steel plates to now take over the tension and weight.
“There’s also another component to that which is our structure division reviewing over 1,200 linear feet of wields in this bridge to ensure that all wields are safe. That report is preliminary due this week. We’ll be reviewing that and open up as quick as possible,” said Akins.
In the meantime, crews have made progress to traffic delays and economic impacts.
“Over the last two weeks, we’re showing a 77% decrease in traffic delays on I-55,” said Akins. “There was also an article this weekend from the truckers’ association that showed that we saved in delay costs about $21 million over these last two weeks. The article refers to $2.4 million per day delays before the traffic improvements. Now, we’re showing about a $900,000 per day. We want to get that down as much as we can.”
Crews say they will have that final plate installed by the end of Monday. They could not give a timeframe as to when the bridge will be back open. They said they are first waiting on those preliminary reports that are expect to come down this week.