The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) this week confirmed that there was a failure in the bridge inspection process which allowed evidence of damage to the I-40 Mississippi River Bridge to go unnoticed, according to agency officials.
“From our investigation we have determined that the same employee who conducted the inspection in both 2019 and 2020 failed to carry out his responsibilities correctly,” ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said in a statement on Monday. “This is unacceptable and this employee has been terminated as of this morning."
According to ARDOT, the drone video that showed evidence of this fracture in May of 2019 was taken when Michael Baker International was performing an inspection of the cables and upper portion of the bridge, not the metal supports below. ARDOT said it will start changing the inspection process by adding redundancies, with further changes possible in the future.
The team will also continue to inspect and investigate the bridge to be sure that any long term damages, caused by the fracture or otherwise, are addressed. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced this week the emergency bridge repair project for the I-40 Hernando de Soto Bridge has been awarded to Kiewit Infrastructure Group.
SOURCE: Arkansas DOT