WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) – The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) said on Wednesday (April 29) it lacks the equipment to do a forensic-type radar inspection for two Washington County bridges.
The department received requests to inspect two Washington County bridges, including one request from Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards. She asked that all county bridges built in the last 20 years be inspected by the AHTD.
In a letter to Edwards, the AHTD said it didn’t have the equipment or the capability to perform a forensic-type radar inspection of the two requested bridges. The department then suggested that the county consider the possibility of hiring an engineering firm or one of the state’s universities to perform the forensic-type radar inspection of the two bridges.
The letter states that the AHTD has nearly 13,000 bridges to inspect throughout Arkansas, and the department does not believe it is necessary to inspect the two requested bridges until it is their turn in the cycle (each bridge in The Natural State is on a one or two year inspection cycle).
The AHTD also sent Edwards a copy of the latest inspection reports for each Washington County bridge.
This announcement comes after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said her department would not investigate the bridges because she doesn’t have the authority to do so.
Washington County is a defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by road worker George Braswell, who alleges that two county bridges were built improperly.
One of those, the Stonewall bridge, was recently torn down after county officials admitted mistakes were made in building it.
The second one, the Harvey Dowell Bridge between Elkins and Fayetteville, is still open to the public but has been reduced to a weight limit of three tons.