Bridge closure delays more than 200 barges on Lower Mississippi

1280px Hernandodesoto Bridge Pyramid

(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. Coast Guard lifted the waterway restriction from mile marker 736 to mile marker 737 on the Mississippi River on Friday in the vicinity of the I-40 bridge in Memphis, Tenn.

The waterway is now open without restriction to all vessel traffic. As of Friday, there were 62 vessels and 1,058 barges in queue.

“Based on information provided to us by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Coast Guard has determined that transit under the I-40 bridge is safe for maritime traffic,” said Coast Guard Capt. Ryan Rhodes, captain of the port of Memphis. “We appreciate the cooperative efforts of both the Tennessee and Arkansas Departments of Transportation, as well as maritime port partners, to ensure the safety of our waterway.”

Previous report

(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. Coast Guard issued a waterway restriction Tuesday to all vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River near the I-40 bridge (Hernando de Soto Bridge) in Memphis, Tenn.

The waterway restriction closes the river to all vessel traffic between mile marker 736 and mile marker 737 and was put into place due to a crack discovered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation near the center span. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic Tuesday afternoon.

There are currently 16 vessels with a total of 229 barges in the queue.

1280px Hernandodesoto Bridge Pyramid
The I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tenn. Trevor Birchett photo

“The Coast Guard is currently working with Arkansas Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and river industry stakeholders on this developing situation,” said Capt. Ryan Rhodes, captain of the Port of Memphis. “Based on the current information available, we have closed a portion of the Lower Mississippi River out of an abundance of caution. The captain of the port is monitoring the situation and will continue to ensure the safety of the maritime environment and surrounding community.”

The Coast Guard captain of the port determines when to issue a river closure by following a waterways action plan, which provides the marine industry, the Coast Guard, and state and local governments with a coordinated plan for facilitating the safe and orderly movement of traffic.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Professional Mariner Staff