History of Hernando de Soto I-40 bridge in Downtown Memphis

At the height of the Cold War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the Federal Highway Act of 1956 — a law that would allocate federal funding to the revitalize efforts to establish an interstate highway system, which slowed considerably during World War II.

Population growth and rapidly increasing ownership of cars necessitated stronger transportation infrastructure in the U.S.

The new and improved system of federal highways called for a bridge connecting Tennessee and Arkansas together that crossed the Mississippi River as part of Interstate 40. Memphis wasn’t quite the logistical hub it’s known as today, (FedEx was still a few years away from the first cargo deliveries) but the connection was already considered an essential component by planners. 

On this:Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visits I-40 bridge, discusses economic impacts