Accelerated bridge construction not used before in AR

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - After a bridge collapse killed six people in Miami, FL this week, there are concerns about bridge safety across the country.

Arkansas Department of Transportation officials told Region 8 News Friday that the accelerated bridge construction technique that was used to build the structure in Miami has never been used in Arkansas.

District 10 Construction Engineer Alan Walter said it has been considered though.

There was a proposal to use this accelerated technique to build a bridge in Jonesboro near the A-State campus to lessen the road closure time.

Walter said the higher cost is what stopped them from using that method, though. There wasn't a safety concern.

He said there are many layers to ARDOT's safety inspections.

"We have people who are highway department employees that monitor every phase of the work," Walter said. "They are there daily with the contractor at all phases. We monitor materials, construction methods. We have lots of interactions with the contractors on the job. When they're placing concrete, we get samples of it. We get samples of the steel when it's fabricated in Little Rock or St. Louis or Memphis. Then when the whole structure is put together, we have dedicated bridge inspectors."

The accelerated bridge construction is used to lessen the impact to traffic, often by building the bridge on the side of the road before lifting it into place.

Walter said he wouldn't be surprised to see this method used by ARDOT in the future, but is confident their safety measures are sufficient.

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