Little Rock, Arkansas (AP) — An inspector who urged the closure of the span was fired after failing to find a crack in the bridge on Interstate 40, which connects Arkansas and Tennessee, Arkansas traffic officials said. Said on Monday.
Arkansas Transport Director Rory Tudor said the inspector was fired after the drone video was shown. Crack o A bridge over the Mississippi River in May 2019. Tudor said in a report in the fall or the following year that inspectors were unaware of the crack.
“This is unacceptable,” Tudor said at a press conference. 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 six-lane bridge was closed due to the discovery of “serious damage” to one of two 900-foot (274-meter) horizontal steel beams that are critical 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 Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south, 71 years ago.
Arkansas and Tennessee authorities do not provide a timeline for when the bridge will reopen. Tennessee Department of Transportation I-40 on Monday Bridge repair Is carried out in two phases and both steps must be completed before reopening the bridge 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.
TDOT said it plans to select a contractor as the first phase of repairs on Monday afternoon.
The department does not predict the reopening date for the I-40 Bridge. The ministry also said it would “carefully” consider the condition of the I-55 bridge.
Tudor said all “destruction-critical” bridges inspected by dismissed employees will be re-inspected.
Sainz reported from Memphis, Tennessee.