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Coast Guard closes portion of Lower Mississippi River near I-40 bridge

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard issued a waterway restriction to all vessel traffic on the Lower Mississippi River Tuesday near the I-40 bridge in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The waterway restriction closes the river to all vessel traffic between mile marker 736 and mile marker 737 on the Lower Mississippi River and was put into place due to a crack discovered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation on the I-40 bridge near the center span.

There are currently 16 vessels with a total of 229 barges in the queue. 

“The Coast Guard is currently working with Arkansas Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Transportation and river industry stakeholders on this developing situation,” said Capt. Ryan Rhodes, captain of the Port of Memphis. “Based on the current information available, we have closed a portion of the Lower Mississippi River out of an abundance of caution. The captain of the port is monitoring the situation and will continue to ensure the safety of the maritime environment and surrounding community.”

The Coast Guard captain of the port determines when to issue a river closure by following a waterways action plan, which provides marine industry, the U.S. Coast Guard, state and local governments with a coordinated plan for facilitating the safe and orderly movement of traffic. Media queries about the waterway restriction should be directed to Lt. Mark Pipkin of Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River at 901-361-0003. 

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