MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Governors Bill Lee and Asa Hutchinson will be in Memphis on Tuesday to take a first-hand look at the damage to the Hernando Desoto Bridge and discuss infrastructure.
The event is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Tuesday and it will be streamed on WREG.com. You can watch in the player above.
Lee, in a statement released shortly before his meeting in Memphis with Hutchinson, called for immediate action from the federal government on infrastructure.
“We are making swift progress on repairs to the Hernando de Soto bridge to ensure safety and a return to uninterrupted commerce,” Lee said. “While Congress ponders the definition of infrastructure, we call upon the federal government to prioritize the safety of actual roads and bridges.”
The Hernando DeSoto I-40 bridge, one of two major interstate routes over the Mississippi River at Memphis, was closed to traffic May 11 after a large crack was found in a steel beam.
ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said Monday an investigation determined that the same employee who carried out inspections in 2019 and 2020 failed to notice that damage. That employee was terminated, and the matter was referred to federal authorities for possible criminal investigation, Tudor said.
All bridges inspected by that employee over the past year will be re-inspected.
On Monday, TDOT announced that emergency bridge repair project has been awarded to Kiewit Infrastructure Group.
TDOT said the contractor is expected to start work as early as Wednesday. The repair will be performed in two phases. Both phases will need to be completed before traffic can re-open on the bridge. At this point, TDOT said they are unable to project a re-opening date.