Arkansas coverage exposes pattern of faulty inspections and helps spark national change

The Arkansas Nonprofit News Network published a series of stories that showed that, contrary to officials’ claims, multiple inspectors over several years had missed serious problems on a bridge on Interstate 40 that links Tennessee and Arkansas. Arkansas officials had claimed that one inspector failed to detect a crack in the bridge, and that inspector was fired. With a grant from the Fund, the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network showed that inspection missteps on the bridge involve many more inspectors and may date back four decades. In December, the Federal Highway Administration issued a national directive to states with similar bridges, telling them to step up their inspections.