Attorney General Gets Second Letter Seeking Probe Into Washington County Bridges
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – A follow-up letter has gone to the state Attorney General’s Office from six members of the Washington County Quorum Court, seeking an investigation into faulty county bridges.
The letter states that even though County Judge Marilyn Edwards has acknowledged that two bridges were constructed improperly, her office “still refuses to provide any information” about the bridges. The letter, dated April 10, is signed by Quorum Court members Joel Maxwell, Harvey Bowman, Sue Madison, Lisa Ecke, Tom Lundstrum and Rick Cochran. The Quorum Court has 15 members.
“We are concerned that if the Attorney General’s office does not investigate, we will never know, and therefore the public will never know, how this situation with our bridges got so out of hand and how far ranging the problem is,” the letter states.
That letter is a follow-up to one that Quorum Court member Eva Madison sent to Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on April 2, requesting the Attorney General’s Office investigate bridge construction issues in Washington County. (In the 5NEWS photo above, Sue Madison, left, is seen with her daughter, Eva Madison.)
“Obviously, there are critical public safety issues with the bridges that the county must investigate locally, on its own, with the assistance of engineers and other professionals, but in my view, we need an outside investigation into the public trust issues and the misspending of taxpayer dollars,” Eva Madison’s letter states.
The Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the request for an investigation, said Judd Deere, spokesman.
Four days after Eva Madison’s letter went out, County Attorney Steve Zega asked Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett to suspend an investigation that Edwards had earlier requested.
“There is no reason to have two investigations going at the same time,” Zega wrote in an email to Durrett.
Washington County is a defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by George Braswell, a county road employee who alleged that two bridges were structurally deficient.
One of those, the Stonewall Bridge near Prairie Grove, 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.