bridge crack1.jpg

This photo from TDOT shows the crack in the  I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge connecting Tennessee and Arkansas. 

LITTLE ROCK Ark. (AP) — A report says that a crack in a steel beam that forced the closure of the Interstate 40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee for three months likely began when the span was fabricated in the 1970s.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation on Thursday released reports reviewing the crack that forced the closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge spanning the Mississippi River in May. The bridge fully reopened in August

One of the reports says the crack occurred in a weld between two plates during the bridge's fabrication. Those welds were more susceptible to cracking because of the type of steel and welding method used then, the department said. “In all likelihood the cracking in the weld occurred within hours of its completion but was not detected by any post-weld repair fabrication testing and remained unchanged for a number of years,” the department’s report said.

The crack was first visible in 2016. The department in May fired the inspector who missed it.

The department released the forensic investigation, its review of the crack and a review conducted by the Federal Highway Administration as it announced changes to its bridge inspection program. 

More details: