Records identify ARDOT employee fired in connection to missed crack on I-40 bridge

State News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Documents released by the Arkansas Department of Transportation have identified the employee fired in connection to the closure of the I-40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee.

The documents released by ARDOT officials Thursday confirmed that Monty Frazier was the inspector terminated after a fracture that closed the bridge on May 11 was determined to be visible in a drone video shot as part of a 2019 review.

According to public records, Frazier was hired as a Mechanic in November 2006. He was promoted to Statewide Bridge Inspector in 2016, according to ARDOT records. His last day of work was May 14.

ARDOT officials said as the lead bridge inspector, Frazier failed to identify damage to the Hernando de Soto bridge in 2019 and 2020 inspections.

According to an interoffice memo obtained by FOX16 through a public records request, an ARDOT employee noted on May 17 “the crack had turned into a partial fracture of the tie girder and was severe enough to put the structure in jeopardy of failing.”

It is also noted in the memo when Frazier was asked why the crack wasn’t caught, the former employee said it was unsafe to complete the under-bridge inspection. The employee said in the memo that is not true.

Frazier inspected nine critical bridges over the last year, according to ARDOT officials.

ARDOT is re-inspecting the bridges, which could be completed by the end of June.

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