Outside Companies Contracted To Built & Fix Faulty Washington County Bridges

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- Washington County has contracted out part of the work that has to be done on two faulty bridges to two outside companies, according to an announcement made at Thursday night’s (June 18) Quorum Court meeting.

The county hired the Iowa Bridge Company at $200 per hour to oversee the construction of the Stonewall Bridge west of Prairie Grove, officials said. The Washington County Road Department will work on the bridge as well. The county also hired Benchmark Construction to fix portions of the Harvey Dowell Bridge east of Fayetteville at $166,500, officials said. Benchmark Construction will repair the abutment walls and piers, while the Washington County Road Department will fix guardrails and make other repairs.

The faulty construction of the bridges came to light in December 2014 when a road department worker filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court, saying crews “dangerously” deviated from the engineer’s design plans. Following the release of a video by Jeff Williams, the former Washington County Assessor, in March 2015 that showed the shortcuts taken during the construction of the Stonewall Bridge, the bridge was torn down.

In April, a three-person committee, which was made up of Justice of the Peace Eva Madison, Assessor Russell Hill and retired professional engineer Carl Gales and appointed by Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards, launched a two-week probe to investigate why the Stonewall and Harvey Dowell bridges were constructed incorrectly. The committee released the the results of their investigation in May. According to their report, the work environment and lack of training at the Road Department contributed to the faulty construction.

Thursday night the Quorum Court learned the county will establish a safety committee and make human resources changes in hiring and promotions in the Road Department.


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