MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Arkansas transportation officials will re-inspect a total of nine bridges.
These are bridges once inspected by a team lead engineer named Monty Frazier, who ARDOT said failed to find a crack in the I-40 Bridge. The fracture forced the shutdown of the Hernando de Soto Bridge indefinitely.
“In 2020 last year, there were nine bridges, nine critical fractured bridges that this individual was the lead inspector on,” ARDOT spokesman Dave Parker told FOX13.
Parker said only two are in the FOX13 viewing area of Arkansas. They are the Hernando de Soto Bridge and the bridge in West Helena.
All of the bridges Frazier inspected as the team leader in 2020 were considered fracture critical. Parker explained fracture critical as “that bridge must have an element, a part, that if failed could cause total or partial collapse of the bridge. That’s the engineering definition.”
One bridge Frazier didn’t inspect last year was the I-55 bridge, although ARDOT is conducting a second inspection of that structure.
“They will not have to be closed, no. The inspection does not shut down traffic, no,” said Parker.
The re-inspection of nine bridges comes as ARDOT has asked the Federal Highway Administration to review its bridge inspection program.
In the meantime, a civil and environmental engineering professor said the re-inspection of the nine bridges should be done with extra scrutiny.
“The great thing about today’s technology is we have much more sophisticated technology than we did ten years ago,” said Prof. Andrew Assodollahi, department chair at Christian Brothers University.
ARDOT estimates all of those bridges that need to be re-inspected should have the process done by June unless there are weather delays.
Cox Media Group