Tennessee Department of Transportation—Hernando de Soto Bridge Emergency Repairs

In May 2021, the Hernando de Soto Bridge in Memphis was abruptly shut down to motor vehicle and river traffic as a routine inspection uncovered a severe fracture in a steel-tied arch structure, part of the bridge deck. Just one of two river crossings in the area, the Hernando de Soto Bridge is a vital transportation link, supporting 50,000 cars and commercial trucks daily and getting people and goods where they need to go. Tennessee DOT initiated a multi-phased emergency repair operation involving drones to observe and assess the fracture and state-of-the-art techniques that allowed TDOT to repair and not replace the fractured structure — saving time and money. The repairs were made, keeping people safe while getting them and goods to their destinations, and the bridge was reopened just 83 days after the fracture was discovered, minimizing disruptions and headaches for the commuting public.