Study Finds Need for Another Bridge at Memphis

NOVEMBER 11, 2005 - Posted at 8:08 a.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - A state consultant says Memphis needs another bridge across the Mississippi River.

The study by Wilbur Smith Associates says a new bridge to carry both highway and rail traffic would be built to current earthquake standards.  The estimated cost is about $500 million.

There are now four bridges spanning the river, ranging in age from 32 to 113 years old.

The newest of them is the Hernando Desoto Bridge, which carried Interstate 40.  It's undergoing a $170 million retrofit to make it safer from earthquakes.  The older bridges can't be brought up to current standards.

Memphis is the largest city along the New Madrid Fault zone.

The Tennessee Transportation Department conducted the study, in coordination with the departments of Arkansas and Mississippi.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)