Current News


Inspections on Bridges Are Falsified

Published: February 8, 2008

ATLANTA — A veteran bridge inspection team for the Georgia Department of Transportation falsified checks of dozens of bridges in the metropolitan area, including 11 previously rated as needing repair or replacement, department officials said Thursday.

Of those 11, at least one had already been replaced and the falsified inspection did not reflect the new bridge, said David Spear, a spokesman for the Transportation Department. Not all of those 11 were structurally unsound, Mr. Spear said. Bridges can be slated for repair or replacement if they lack upgrades like sidewalks.

The officials believe the deception was an attempt to meet a federal reporting deadline and began about three months after a fatal bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August, which increased the pressure. In December, a quality-control team noticed discrepancies, including the fact that the replaced bridge had not shown up in the reports, and saw that photographs of many of the bridges were taken on the same day, according to time/date stamps, Mr. Spear said. Normally, inspectors are expected to complete 12 bridge inspections a week. This team was working at a rate of 18 a day.

The team’s supervisor, David Simmons, acknowledged falsifying 54 reports, but the officials suspect that as many as 68 more might have been faked.

“We are out reinspecting them as fast as we can, using other folks,” Mr. Spear said.

Mr. Simmons, who worked for the department for 29 years, was granted retirement after the deception was discovered, but the department is contesting that decision. The department is working with the state attorney general to determine if any laws were violated.

Mr. Simmons’s inspection partner, Gerald Kelsey, a nine-year veteran, has not acknowledged wrongdoing. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which was the first to report that some of the bridges involved needed replacement, that he was a “victim of circumstance.”

Mr. Spear confirmed Mr. Kelsey’s explanation that Mr. Simmons had taken a significant amount of time off last year, which may have contributed to the team’s falling behind.




The Power Hour:
(7-10am CST)
···Listen Live

Listen FREE thru Global Star Satellite Feed






All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:

Copyright © 2007. The Power Hour. All rights reserved.