ARDOT makes traffic changes due to I-40 bridge closure
Updated: Jun 16, 2021
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark- The Arkansas Department of Transportation is making changes to the area near the bridge.
Traffic changes are taking place in West Memphis as ARDOT is closing one lane and an on and exit ramp.
The department hopes this will help with traffic flow and congestion over the 1-55 bridge. But some residents have mixed feelings.
One Marion resident says the interstate traffic changes causing more people to go through the town.
“I don’t think that was a good idea at all. Like I keep telling people they need to leave everything open that can possibly be opened. Here in Marion, on Main Street those trucks are bumper to bumper,” says Fran Arnold. “The local people that live here have to find alternate routes to get just around the town where we’re going.”
The changes impact the eastbound area and will continue until further notice according to the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
"I-55 southbound will be reduced to a single outside lane just before the western I-40/I-55 Interchange.
I-40 eastbound already narrows to a single lane at the I-40/I-55 Interchange. Exit Ramps at 7th Street and Ingram Blvd. will be closed to I-40 traffic.
I-40 traffic will continue in the inside lane and I-55 traffic will continue in the outside lane through Ingram Blvd.
The middle lane will be closed to separate eastbound traffic between the western and eastern I-40/I-55 Interchanges.
East of Ingram Blvd. eastbound traffic will transition into two adjacent lanes, and I-40/I-55 on-ramp at Ingram Blvd. will be closed."
One resident on the Tennessee side has business in West Memphis.
The traffic patterns and bridge closure has impacted the regular commute across the river.
“Two of our biggest customers are right on the other side of the bridge. I had a technician go over there last week,” says Lenny Giaramita. “[He] got over there in thirty-five minutes, [it took him] four and a half hours to come back.”
Giaramita’s company is considering getting hotel rooms for staff due to the traffic delays.
Step two of repairs is in underway with ultrasound testing inspections taking place on the 1-40 bridge.
However, if any issues come up with the ultrasound test, that could delay the reopening.
Arnold and Giarmaita both say they look forward to the bridge being complete.
“You never would of thought a bridge would make this much chaos…and have this much traffic. Yes, I want it to be fixed very soon,” she says.
“It’s definitely bad. It’s bad for business because they can’t get back and forth to do the things they do. I just hope it’s done properly and it’s no longer a danger,” says Giaramita.