Monday, February 15, 2021

1973 I-40 (Hernando de Soto) Bridge over Mississippi River at Memphis, TN

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; John A. Weeks III; Satellite)

May 12, 2021  Update: 
CNN Link
"Authorities have also shut down river traffic until further notice....More than 50,000 vehicles drive over the bridge each day."

The I-55 bridge is the only other road bridge over the Mississippi River for many miles. It was found during a regular 2-year inspection. It makes your wonder how long it has been cracked.
TDOT via CNN and news5 (This site also has a drone video of the empty bridge.)

safe_image for U.S. Coast Guard stops vessel traffic on Mississippi River around damaged bridge at Memphis
At least 16 vessels with a total of 229 barges are parked up and down the Mississippi River, the Coast Guard said.

"As of the morning of Friday, May 14, there were 62 vessels and 1,058 barges in queue. The Coast Guard lifted all restrictions to vessel traffic....The bridge remains closed to highway traffic....TDOT reported that three plates in a 2-foot-wide steel beam had separated by a fraction of an inch, and a fourth plate was cracked. [So how many plates were there total?] ARDOT reported the bridge had last been inspected in September 2020. Although most bridges are inspected every two years, fracture-critical bridges are inspected on an annual basis.  "
This queue is expected to clear in 48 hours. But those tows going on to the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers will probably face big queues at the first locks.

The bridge is supposed to invoke the image of an "M" for Memphis. A Facebook comment observed that rivermen call it the Dolly Parton Bridge.

Each arch span is 900'. The other spans are box girders.

John Weeks

One of fourteen photos posted by John Weeks, cropped
Looking north towards the Big-M Bridge, which carries I-40 into Memphis. [Taken from the trail that is now on the north side of the Harahan Bridge.]

Tim Miller posted, cropped
[Judging from the comments, the towboat operators can turn off the decorative lights so that they can more easily see the piers.]

Mike Davis posted
Found this post card today. Says: "The towboat Miss Kae-D using all of her 10,500 horsepower set an inland waterway record May 2, 1981, when she departed Baton Rouge, La., pushing 72 jumbo barges bound for Hickman, Ky. The record tow was 9 barges wide,8 barges long and covered 12.72 acres. Total loading capacity 113,400 net tons." Holy Cow !
Cris Muirhead: The Miss Kae D is now the Russell G Stover. She's been re-powered and is now 11,100 horsepower.
Jack Tanner Towing shared
[I learned just yesterday that the big towboats have three screws. We can clearly see in this photo that the towboat is wider than a barge. But when a tow is this big, putting barges on the hips of the towboat doesn't significantly increase capacity.]

Richard Stewart, Apr 2016

Matt Burks posted
[Comments provide two more photos of the bridge at night.]

Todd Simpkins posted
Wind & High water, Memphis Bridges

The bridge has three lanes in each direction, but no emergency lane. There have been fatal accidents as a consequence. [Bridge Hunter] I can't tell if the lanes are the federal standard of 12'. Building a parallel structure would provide plenty of room for the traffic lanes and allow them to add bike+pedestrian lanes to this one.
Street View

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