Kayaker claims he has evidence of crack in I-40 bridge in 2016

I-40 bridge

Photos not confirmed by Arkansas or Tennessee DOT officials

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A Collierville man says he has pictures that show a crack in the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge as far back as 2016.

Barry Moore said this week he decided to look over photographs he took during a kayaking trip along the Mississippi River five years ago and was stunned when he was able to find the same fracture that shut down the bridge last week.

“I wanted to make sure that what I was looking for was in the right place. So, I looked at the DTOT report that had a sketch of the bridge, and it pointed out where the fracture was located,” said Moore. “I went back and looked at my pictures, and sure enough, it was there. It was kind of unbelievable, but yeah, it was there.”

Evidence of damage on I-40 Memphis bridge found two years before shutdown 

Drone video taken by an inspector in May of 2019 also shows damage in the area where the fracture was discovered in the bridge support last Tuesday.

A bridge inspector who failed to note the crack in the steel beam in 2019 and 2020 has since been terminated by the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Inspector who missed crack in I-40 bridge beam fired, may face charges, Arkansas officials say

Moore said he wanted to make sure the right people knew what he had found and immediately forward his pictures to ARDOT and TDOT.

“ARDOT was the only one that acknowledge receipt. They thanked me for it. That was yesterday morning,” Moore said Wednesday.

When we asked TDOT about Moore’s pictures, a spokesperson told us they had seen them, but any comments would have to come from ARDOT since they house the final inspections. So far, we have not heard back from ARDOT.

Moore said his images put a whole new picture on things. He said it’s amazing that regular citizens have to discover things like that when someone else is being paid to do the actual inspections.

“It was obviously totally missed, and if that was missed, one cannot help wonder if there are other areas. Let’s hope they are going over the entire structure with a fine-tooth comb,” said Moore.

ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor said the department is committed to correcting the inspection problems by doing both in-person and drone video inspections.

Tudor said the department is working with Tennessee to get a drone inspection done on the I-55 bridge, currently carrying all traffic between Tennessee and Arkansas at Memphis.

Repairs on the I-40 bridge get underway

There were signs along the I-40 bridge Wednesday that work had begun to repair the structure. ARDOT says it’s unable to give a timeline on when traffic will be restored on the bridge.

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