Ark. transportation officials release I-40 bridge internal investigation findings

I-40 bridge
I-40 bridge
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 9:25 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Arkansas Department of Transportation says the internal investigation into the I-40 bridge is now complete.

The investigation was launched when inspectors discovered a large crack in the bridge on May 11, shutting the bridge down for four months until it was fixed.

Arkansas and Tennessee have an agreement that ARDOT is responsible for routine and special bridge inspections and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is responsible for contract maintenance and repairs -- the cost shared equally between the two states.

The structure is typically inspected every two years but evidence from drone video shows the crack existed before the last inspection in 2019. ARDOT’s investigation determined the crack was visible in 2016.

As a result, ARDOT terminated the inspector responsible for inspecting that portion of the bridge in 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

The agency also found the inspector who oversaw the 2018 bridge inspection lacked adequate training and is receiving additional training in light of the issue.

ARDOT says their internal investigation has led them to enhance their inspection program and are implementing some of the following changes:

  • New management for the Heavey Bridge Maintenance Section
  • Add additional personnel to strengthen the program
  • Create a bridge inspection oversight committee and technical subcommittee for additional leadership
  • Fracture critical bridges and their members shall not be inspected by the same inspector consecutively


The I-40 bridge has been back up and running since August as crews worked to complete the phased repair.

The engineering firm responsible for the inspection, Michael Baker International, was honored for its role in the emergency repair.

For more on the I-40 bridge shutdown, click HERE.

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