New Bridge Emergency Disrupts Supply Chain

New Bridge Emergency Could Have Major Effects

( – On May 11, inspectors found a crack in one of two 900-foot horizontal steel beams that keep a major bridge stable. The I-40 bridge, known as the Hernando de Soto bridge, spans the Mississippi River connecting Arkansas and Tennessee. The beam was so badly damaged that two inspectors called 911 and asked the police to immediately shut it down. It has remained closed to traffic both on and under it since then and will be for the foreseeable future. And that could have a major impact on the country.

Tennessee Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Paul Degges said engineers will have to run tests on the bridge to find out how much damage has been done. When that’s over, they will create a repair plan. However, the bridge could be closed for months and even more than a year. Experts have said the bridge is vital to the supply chain.

Now, traffic is being diverted to other routes, and one of them is more than 100 miles away in Missouri. Coast Guard officials told the NY Times that hundreds of barges are being held up on the Mississippi River, as well.

The problem with the I-40 bridge underscores how important it is that Congress pass an infrastructure bill quickly. The question is whether Democrats are going to pass a clean bill with bipartisan support or waste time trying to shove their pork-filled monstrosity through.

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