U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to visit Memphis I-40 bridge

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Pete Buttigieg, nominee for US Transportation Secretary, testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to travel to Memphis and visit the I-40 bridge on Thursday, June 3.

The I-40 bridge has been closed for several weeks following the discovery of a fracture in the structure. While vessel traffic on the river has reopened, the bridge is still closed for vehicle traffic.

Repairs are currently underway. Earlier this week, officials announced that phase one of the repairs has been completed.

The closure has had major impact on travel and business for the Mid-South and has put President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plans into the spotlight. West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon and other Arkansas leaders recently called on Congress to act.

“I’m hoping that this Congress can work together to come up with a partisan bill to create an infrastructure plan for this area,” McClendon said earlier this month. “The I-40 bridge being closed is true evidence and proof to the nation that infrastructure needs to be taken care of in this city and many other cities around the country.”

Some officials have also called for a third bridge to be built in the Memphis area.

“The fact of it is, perfect time for the country as we talk about infrastructure for us to get another bridge,” said Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., a Democratic member of the Tennessee House transportation committee. ‘We need another bridge. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, we just simply need another bridge.”

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