Investigations into what led to I-40 Bridge fracture and how it was overlooked continue

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Repairs on the I-40 bridge are finished. The bridge will reopen to eastbound traffic Monday, Aug. 2, and to westbound traffic four days later on Friday, Aug. 6.

RELATED: I-40 Bridge set to fully reopen next week, TDOT confirms

But investigations into what led to the fracture and how it was overlooked for years continue.

In an Arkansas State Highway Commission meeting Wednesday, Director of ARDOT Lorie Tudor said a portion of the fractured beam was sent to a forensic analysis expert, who will run tests to determine how long the crack has been there and what caused it.

RELATED: Fired I-40 bridge inspector said safety concern kept him from seeing fracture, record shows

Last month, ARDOT fired Monty Frazier, an ARDOT employee who reportedly oversaw inspections of the I-40 bridge in 2019 and 2020. The department said he “failed to carry out his responsibilities.”

Currently, Tudor said the US Department of Transportation is doing what they call a “compliance assessment” and will give the department recommendations on what they are doing well and if there is anything they need to change.

She said they’ve also asked the Office of Inspector General to investigate how the inspector failed to notice the crack back in 2019.

Tudor said ARDOT is also conducting its own internal investigation.

PHOTOS: I-40 Bridge closed after crack discovered

“We do not want our investigation to get out in front of the U.S. Department of Transportation and what they are going to find,” she said. “We want to make sure when we come to the end of this process, we come up with the best possible remedies to make sure this never happens again.”

When the bridge starts to reopen to traffic next week, it will still be a work zone with speed restrictions.

TDOT reminds drivers to use caution when crossing the bridge.