Crack in bridge forces Coast Guard to close portion of Mississippi River


More than a dozen vessels with more than 200 barges are waiting for the restriction to be lifted


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The U.S. Coast Guard issued a waterway restriction to all vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River on Tuesday near the I-40 bridge in Memphis, Tenn.

The restriction closes the river to all vessel traffic between mile markers 736 and 737 on the river and was put into place due to a crack discovered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation on the bridge near the center span.

There are currently 16 vessels with a total of 229 barges in the queue. 

“The Coast Guard is currently working with Arkansas Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and river industry stakeholders on this developing situation,” said Capt. Ryan Rhodes, captain of the Port of Memphis.

“Based on the current information available, we have closed a portion of the Lower Mississippi River out of an abundance of caution.”

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