The Tennessee Department of Transportation has shut down the I-40 interstate bridge that crosses the Mississippi River into Memphis. Pictures released by TDOT show an obvious crack in a steel support beam. Found during an inspection, the cracked girdler had enough surface rust in the cracked area to suggest it has been that way for several days, perhaps weeks. Traffic was rerouted to I-55 bridge, causing further backups. Estimates are that the downtime for further inspection and repair could last a few weeks, affecting RVers into the Memorial Day holiday.
RVers Forced to Change Routing
Detours are nothing new, and most drivers can simply go a different way. When it comes to RVs however, particularly when you have a travel plan locked in, a sudden change means not just finding a new route, but finding an RV safe alternate route. It’s important for RVers to plan ahead and look at alternative routes before they get behind the wheel. Taking a random detour at the last minute can lead to unfavorable circumstances when driving or towing a large RV.
The bridge outage is particularly bad timing for RVers. With Memorial Day coming, a pandemic-fueled travel boom going on, and RVing more popular than ever, cutting off a major East-West artery won’t make travel in and out of Memphis much fun. RVers using tools like RV LIFE Trip Wizard should have no trouble creating or modifying a route that avoids the cracked I-40 bridge.
If there is a sunny side to this mess, it might be that the recent pipeline hack and subsequent lack of fuel in the Eastern states might temper the amount of traffic normally seen this time of year. It seems we are destined to get in line one way or another, either to fuel up or cross the Mississippi River.