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Barge traffic at a standstill in wake of bridge closure

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 2:41 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Barges are lining the banks of the Mississippi River due to a major bridge closure between Tennessee and Arkansas.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation flew to Memphis Wednesday to give an update on the I-40 bridge closure and noted there were several barges at a standstill.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there are 229 barges in the queue. Five are stopped at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park.

Barges are stopped in the Mississippi River after the I-40 bridge between Tennessee and...
Barges are stopped in the Mississippi River after the I-40 bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas closed May 11, 2021.(James Wilkinson, manager of Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park)

During a biannual inspection Tuesday, Arkansas Department of Transportation inspectors discovered a “fatigue crack” on the lower beam of the bridge causing road and water traffic to come to a halt.

The I-55 bridge is serving as an alternate route for motorists but barges are stuck for now.

TDOT says it expects to have an update on barge traffic in a few days.

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