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The Bradley County Board of Education met on Thursday covering several items of business. During the meeting, it was announced that GOAL Academy is now officially in the PIE Center. All full time employees will have a $500 bonus added to their paychecks, with part-time employees receiving a $200 bonus. This is in addition to teachers and staff receiving a 3% raise and another bonus earlier this year. Also announced, Wi-Fi will be installed on county school buses through a grant, which will allow students to work on school work using school-issued devices on their way to and from school. The work is expected to be complete by January.
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 and went undetected for years, a report by Arkansas’ Transportation Department released Thursday said.
A forensic investigation by an outside firm hired by the department said 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.
The crack had been visible in 2016, and an inspector who had missed it was fired by the department in May. The report said the weld fracture initially was not visible by conventional inspection and was not caught by an ultrasonic inspection in 1982.
The I-40 bridge spanning the Mississippi River was shut down May 11 after inspectors found the crack in one of two 900-foot (275-meter) horizontal steel beams critical to the bridge’s structural integrity. Road traffic had been diverted to the nearby Interstate 55 bridge — about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) south of the I-40 bridge — during the I-40 bridge’s repairs. The bridge fully reopened in August.