LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Trucking industry leaders say the closure of the bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee on Interstate 40 has taken a huge chunk of profit but not they are now seeing a sharp decrease in those costs.
According to data from the Arkansas Trucking Association, the trucking industry has absorbed over $70 million in unanticipated cost since the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge was closed on May 11.
While that figure is costly, the data also shows the average daily cost to the industry trending down from an estimated $2.4 million to $936,000 a day.
Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton credits the Arkansas Department of Transportation’s efforts with finding faster routes that help save money.
“When the bridge first closed, delays were regularly exceeding an hour,” Newton said in a release. “Now thanks to ARDOT’s traffic engineering, implementing strategic lane shifts, that delay is down to only 15 minutes.”
According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, consumers have seen a price increase in the food industry through surcharges since both bridges in Memphis and the Mississippi River it spans are major conduits of food and other agriculture-related traffic.
Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner Clay Bright said the repair will likely continue through July.