Repairs of vital Tenn. bridge could take two months

A tug boat pushes barges down the Mississippi River and under the Interstate 40 linking Tennessee and Arkansas on Friday, May 14, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. The U.S. Coast Guard reopened a section of the river near Memphis on Friday, three days after river traffic was shut down when a crack was found in the bridge. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

A tug boat pushes down the Mississippi River and under the Interstate 40 linking Tennessee and Arkansas on Friday, May 14, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

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UPDATED 1:52 PM PT – Friday, May 14, 2021

A dangerous crack was found in a steel beam in the Interstate 40 bridge in Memphis, Tennessee, which caused authorities to order an emergency closure. The crack is reportedly 900 feet, drastically impacting the beam’s main duty of keeping the bridge stable.

Officials said they have indefinitely closed the Hernando de Soto Bridge after a consulting inspector discovered a significant fracture during a routine check on Tuesday. This particular bridge sees over 50,000 cars a day and is regularly inspected every two years.

In this undated image released by the Tennessee Department of Transportation shows a crack is in a steel beam on the Interstate 40 bridge, near Memphis, Tenn. The Tennessee Department of Transportation says the crack is in a 900-foot steel beam that provides stability for the Interstate 40 bridge that connects Arkansas and Tennessee over the Mississippi River. The bridge was closed Tuesday, May 11, 2021 after inspectors found the crack. (Tennessee Department of Transportation via AP)

A crack in a steel beam on the Interstate 40 bridge, near Memphis, Tenn. The bridge was closed Tuesday, May 11, 2021 after inspectors found the crack. (Tennessee Department of Transportation via AP)

The structural flaw was reportedly in a part of the bridge that is critical to its structural integrity. Chief engineer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation Paul Degges explained that engineers will have to run multiple tests in order to assess exactly how much damage has been done before laying out a full repair plan.

This is the latest of many recent supply chain issues that have been occurring within the U.S.’s infrastructure. Officials are predicting the repairs could take up to two months to complete. This will force suppliers, who often utilize the bridge that connects Arkansas and Tennessee, to find an alternative transportation route.

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