MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's a big weekend to avoid the interstate.
Tennessee Department of Transportation contract crews will temporarily close a stretch of I-240 from the I-40/I-240 split to the I-40/SR 385 split, as well as Poplar Avenue east and westbound for the MemFix bridge replacement project.
"During the closures, we're going to be setting some steal beams over the interstate and then continuing the Poplar Avenue work to prep those bridges for demolition and re-build," TDOT spokesperson Nichole Lawrence said.
From Friday, July 20 at 9:00 p.m. until Monday, July 23 at 6:00 a.m., I-240 east and westbound and Poplar Avenue east and westbound will be completely closed.
It's all a part of MemFix--a $54 million bridge rehabilitation project to replace and repair four bridges by June 2019 using a process called Accelerated Bridge Construction.
"If we were doing this traditionally, it would be more of a 36-month project instead of an 18-month project," Lawrence said.
During the closures, all interstate traffic will be detoured around the north I-40 loop and the south I-240 loop.
Walnut Grove and Park Avenue will be open, but access to I-240 will be prohibited. Message boards will alert motorists to the closures and alternate routes. Drivers are advised to plan ahead.
WMC Action News 5 Traffic Anchor Janeen Gordon said it's important to prepare ahead of time.
"You will be able to go I-40 near Summer Avenue. You will also be able to go on Sam Cooper. You will not be able to use those two center lanes there at the flyover, I-40 or I-240," Gordon said.
Just a reminder this entire project is to replace the four bridges there on I-240 corridor between 385 and Walnut Grove.
With this being the first of 12 closures over the span of the project, Gordon said its best to pack your patience.
"If you start getting used to taking some of those alternates now, maybe by the time they do that 12th closure, you'll have it down pact," she said.