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Crack In I-40 Bridge Forces RVers to Reroute

Published on May 13th, 2021 by Patrick Buchanan
This post was updated on June 2nd, 2021

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.

Bad Timing

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.

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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.

11 thoughts on “Crack In I-40 Bridge Forces RVers to Reroute”

  1. We have driven that route many times and find going on I55 and skirting Memphis around the south is preferable to the terrible road surfaces, and traffic, along I40. Another route is going north towards Paducah, however, the number of river crossings on narrow and busy bridges kind of makes it a white knuckle drive. Lots of big rigs cross on these bridges.

  2. I’d call that more than a crack. It’s a complete break. Construction is my field and I deal with concrete and steel structures every day. That’s more than a crack and will lead to a complete failure of that truss component soon.

  3. Local news is now reporting that it may be months as they still determine if it can be repaired or if the section needs to be replaced. Also, the I-55 bridge is good but we usually have an accident daily in morning traffic that causes delays, so be careful on what time you travel through that area.

  4. Patrick Buchanan: What “pipeline burst”???? The pipeline was shut down due to software hacking. Try to be more accurate. This is why media, journalists are not trusted with truth.

  5. What pipeline burst are you referring to? Is it the keystone shutdown, the colonial pipeline hack or the colonial pipeline twitchmer is trying to shutdown just to try bullying Canada?

  6. I suppose bridge repair strength duct tape is on COVID backorder too?
    Or until the price gets high enough to push the inflation level up a notch.


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