Thousands stuck in traffic as T-DOT moves Walnut Grove bridge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thousands stuck in traffic as T-DOT moves Walnut Grove bridge

Sometimes the only way to make things better is to make them worse first. Especially when you're talking about widening a three-mile stretch of a busy road over an interstate.

It's something many Mid-South motorists learned today the hard way.

When they said widening Walnut Grove would inconvenience drivers for a while, they weren't kidding. Thousands of Mid-South motorist spent Saturday stuck in traffic on Interstate 240.

"I think it's awful," said driver Angela Noble. "I'd like to know what's going on up there that's causing it."

The cause, Memphis police took turns shutting down lanes in both directions while TDOT crews ripped apart the Walnut Grove bridge over the interstate to make way for a temporary bridge.

"We did this on purpose on Saturday, of course," said TDOT spokesperson Pamela Marshall. "Imagine if this had been during the week."

Despite signs warning drivers of long delays this weekend, it still seemed like a weekday.

At times, traffic was backed up for several miles. It got so bad some drivers drafted behind emergency vehicles in the shoulder, turning it into an illegal fourth lane of traffic. While those who stuck it out legally in line did so for a while.

One driver told Action News 5 that it took him half-an-hour to drive less than a mile, but T-DOT asks drivers to be patient, saying they'll be pleased with the payoff.

"The aggravation, the annoyance that it's causing right now, it will be worth it in the end," said Marshall.

Right now, the project is scheduled to be finished December 2008.

T-DOT says this was the worst traffic tie up it's seen here since the project began this summer. The work here is scheduled to continue Sunday.

Follow this link for the latest information on the Walnut Grove widening project, including delays and alternate routes.

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