The Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee, was reopened on Friday after the Coast Guard deemed it safe for maritime traffic.
The river had been closed to vessel traffic for several days last week after a significant fracture in a support beam was discovered in a bridge spanning the river. An inspection performed by the Tennessee and Arkansas Departments of Transportation concluded that the bridge would be able to hold its own weight as well as the weight of a construction crew; until that had been determined, the waterway was not considered safe.
Sixty-two ships and more than a thousand barges had been waiting to transit under the bridge by the time it was reopened.
“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.
The bridge remains closed to road traffic until a full repair is completed, which is expected to take up to eight weeks.