Repairing the Hernando DeSoto Bridge
In early May, a mechanical fracture was discovered during a routine inspection of the Interstate 40 bridge (Hernando DeSoto Bridge) over the Mississippi River. The bridge was closed to all traffic while the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) worked together evaluate the damage and determine the best solution for repair, reinspection, and reopening. This resulted in a three-phase approach to ensure the bridge re-opens safely for travel. TDOT procured Kiewit Infrastructure Group to perform the repairs through an emergency construction contract. Smith Seckman Reid, Inc., along with our subconsultants Fisher Arnold and Buchart Horn, provided construction engineering and inspection (CEI) services as well as UAV (drone) services through a TDOT On-Call inspection contract.
Phase 1: Temporary plates were installed in order to make a permanent repair and SSR was onsite 24/7 during this initial phase providing CEI services. The SSR team also provided UAV inspection of the I-55 bridge on the detour route during this initial phase.
Phase 2: Temporary post tensioning rods were installed, and the temporary plates were removed. Permanent splice plates were installed, the temporary post tension rods removed, and the new splice plates were painted to complete the repair of the fractured section. SSR continued to provide 24/7 inspection during this phase. Together with our partners, SSR worked as the eyes and ears of TDOT. The repair work concluded in early July.
Phase 3: After the discovery of the initial fracture, additional inspections were performed on the entire bridge. Additional areas for repair were identified as a safety precaution. This work is currently ongoing and should be finished by the end of July. The bridge will reopen once phase 3 concludes.
Additional information about the project can be found here, including an animated rendering of the planned repairs.