New I-55 Bridge Will Replace "Old Bridge" to Arkansas

Dec. 20, 2023
Construction is planned to begin in 2026

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) said on Monday that it is looking to replace the Interstate 55 "Old Bridge" from Memphis to Arkansas.

Construction is planned to begin in 2026, and the project is estimated to cost between $800 million and $1 billion.

Funding for the I-55 bridge's reconstruction will be entirely funded by part of the $3.3 billion available in Gov. Bill Lee's Transportation Modernization Act.

In 2021, the I-55 bridge saw increased traffic due to the shuttering of the I-40 bridge after a crack was discovered in a steel beam. Traffic congestion was heavy during the repairs due to the increased use and the 75-year-old I-55 bridge having four lanes instead of the six that the I-40 bridge has.

"The existing bridge serves over 64,000 vehicles per day carrying residents, workers and freight moving between Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi," an excerpt of the plan read. "The proposed project will also add capacity to improve mobility, remove bottlenecks and address traffic flow and operations for local and regional travelers in the tri-state area."

TDOT proposed the bridge be built in partnership with the state of Arkansas and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Details on the new bridge were not included in the plan, including what construction of the new I-55 bridge will mean for river-crossing traffic, where the bridge will be located, or how many lanes the new bridge will have.