Tennessee DOT seismic bridge joint protects travellers from earthquakes

A new seismic bridge joint designed to withstand a 7.7 magnitude earthquake is now being installed on the 40-year-old, I-40 bridge crossing over the Mississippi River near Memphis.

The New Madrid Fault line is 60 miles south of the bridge. In 1811, a huge earthquake struck the area, and officials want to ensure that the crossing is able to withstand another big one. The retrofit is critical since the only other bridge within 85 miles is the I-55 bridge, which cannot be retrofitted.

For the past several months, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has engaged in a major public information and outreach campaign. Beginning this week, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction for about two months.

To watch the progress of the installation, go to http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/cctv/cctvmemp/CCTV_11.asp.