The failure to find a fracture on the Interstate 40 bridge may date back farther than 2019, when an inspector failed to see the fracture in a key girder on the bridge.
WMC5 in Memphis reported last night that an amateur photographer who took pictures of the bridge in 2016 while kayaking reviewed the photos and it appears that the fracture appeared then as well.
That hasn’t been confirmed yet, as the 2019 photos were by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
The bridge is closed for repairs that are expected to take months. An inspector of the bridge in 2019 has been fired. A review of others in the line of command is underway. A federal probe perhaps will attempt to date the beginning of the crack and all the inspections made during that period.
Arkansas has inspection responsibility for the 50-year-old bridge. Tennessee pays for maintenance. During the closure, traffic is diverted to a narrower 70-year-old bridge farther south in West Memphis.