Little Rock, Arkansas According to Arkansas transport officials, an inspector who urged the span to close was fired after failing to find a crack in the bridge on Interstate 40, which connects Arkansas and Tennessee.
Arkansas Transport Director Rory Tudor said the inspector was fired after a drone video showed a crack in the bridge over the Mississippi River in May 2019.
“Our research revealed that the same employee who tested in both 2019 and 2020 failed to properly carry out his responsibilities,” Tudor said at a press conference. Arkansas affiliate CBS Little Rock’s KTHV-TV reports. “This is unacceptable.”
The agency did not immediately appoint an employee and said the case had also been referred to federal agents.
Arkansas DOT released images and videos from the drone on Monday. The drone footage was taken by a consultant inspecting bridge cables.
Last Tuesday, traffic on a 6-lane bridge was cut off After inspectors discover “serious destruction” in one of the two 900-foot horizontal steel beams that are important to the integrity of the bridge. River traffic under the span was closed on Tuesday but resumed on Friday.
The closure affected frequently used corridors and raised concerns about shipping and shipping costs. The Arkansas Truck Association on Friday estimated that the closure would cost the truck industry at least $ 2.4 million a day.
Transportation was rerouted to Interstate 55 and the 71-year-old Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, about three miles south.
Arkansas and Tennessee authorities have not given a timeline as to when the bridge will reopen. The Tennessee Department of Transportation said Monday that the I-40 bridge would be repaired in two stages and both steps would need to be completed before the bridge could be reopened for road traffic.
In the statement, TDOT, the first step is to install steel plates on both sides of the damaged beam so that the crew can permanently replace the damaged part. The plate is in production and should be completed by Wednesday, TDOT said. The second step is to remove and replace part of the damaged bridge.
Nebraska-based Kiewit Corporation was selected to repair the bridge on Monday afternoon, said Dave Parker, spokesman for Arkansas DOT. Tennessee transport officials said Keywitt could start work as early as Wednesday.
The Tennessee DOT also said it would “carefully” review the condition of the I-55 Bridge. Drone reviews will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tudor said all “destruction-critical” bridges inspected by dismissed employees will be re-inspected. She said the dismissed employee who had worked in the department for about 15 years did not follow the proper protocol in the inspection of the bridge.
“The way we are supposed to inspect the bridge is that you go literally inch by inch along the beam and physically inspect every inch of the beam,” she said. “It didn’t happen.”
According to Tudor, the ministry is making changes to its inspection program to add additional checks, such as the use of new drones to assist in inspecting bridges. Tudor said last week that if no damage to the bridge was found, it could lead to “catastrophic” events.
The bridge will be closed while the White House is negotiating with a group of Senate Republicans about the infrastructure package. Democrats call the damage to the I-40 bridge an example of the urgent need for additional funding to repair national bridges and roads.
Republicans are calling for infrastructure plans that are cheaper than President Joe Biden and have a narrower definition of public works.
Inspector fired after missing two large cracks in the I-40 bridge
Source link Inspector fired after missing two large cracks in the I-40 bridge