Closure of I-40 Bridge - Nightmare For Trucking Companies

I-40 bridge closure costing trucking $2.4M per day With the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee over the Mississippi River expected to be closed for the foreseeable future, the Arkansas Trucking Association estimates the closure will cost the trucking industry $2.4 million each day. You may ask where did this number come from?

And here is the approximate calculation:

  • Approximately 12,500 trucks traveled over the I-40 bridge each day and an additional 14,000 trucks cross the I-55 bridge daily. Based on operational cost data from the American Transportation Research Institute, which indicates the average cost of operating a truck to be $1.20 per minute, the cost to those 26,500 trucks impacted by the closure adds up to $2.4 million per day.

A crack in the six-lane Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River is forcing traffic onto the four-lane I-55 bridge, causing modest delays for some travelers and truckers. 

But what happens if an accident occurs on the I-55 bridge, too?
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has vehicles on standby at the bridge to quickly clear wrecks. So far, there has been a single fender-bender, which was quickly cleared. There's also been more congestion and wrecks in the Downtown area as a result of the detour, although the city hasn't seen a net increase in wrecks. But still truckers should try to avoid the bridge between morning and afternoon rush hours.

Transportation experts said having this bridge shut down will put a further strain on the supply chain, which is already struggling. Shutting down the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge not only is it affecting freight traffic on the highway, but barge traffic on the Mississippi River is shut down in Memphis. Memphis is also the 4th largest inland port in the United States, and right now, river traffic is shut down - leaving tugboats and barges stuck with nowhere to go.

But the trucking nightmare is where more than 400 trucking companies operate out of Memphis. Detours in place take an average of 10 times longer than the normal route over the bridge.
If truckers are not on the road, they are not getting paid, and their shipment is already running behind. 

All truck drivers hope the I-40 bridge opens back up soon, as this is a major route for them. And this will bring an even bigger hit to truck driver shortage. If they are not getting paid they will soon pursue new job opportunities. 

In this case it’s up to the Fleet Management to invest in their employees. Mattresses, Good Pillows, Safety Gear, Seat Cushions, Air-Humidifiers and a lot other small things that can be added to the cabin for the drivers to feel home away from home for the prolonged hours of their tours.