09/21/2011 08:11 am ET Updated Nov 21, 2011

Wilson Bridge Contractor Admits Using Bad Concrete

WASHINGTON -- Although authorities stress that there's no reason to worry about the structural integrity of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, a contractor who worked on the massive construction project admitted in court to using flawed concrete. As The Washington Post reports, the director of quality control for Frederick Precast pleaded guilty to three counts of making false statements related to the quality of the concrete used on drainage inlets on the bridge and other work on Interstate 70:

The bad concrete was discovered when cracks appeared in a precast piece delivered in 2007 to the I-70 job site, federal documents said. Inspection revealed that the material contained two layers of steel rebar rather than the three layers specified, and that the steel was of a weaker gauge than required.

That led investigators to other projects, including the Wilson Bridge, for which contractors bought materials from Frederick Precast.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the contractor in question, Santos Eliazar Rivas, could face "a possible jail term of five years and a fine of $250,000 on each of the counts, as well as a requirement that he pay restitution."

Last month in New York City, the Manhattan district attorney brought charges against six people for falsifying results on tests for concrete used in major construction projects, like the new Yankee Stadium and the Second Avenue subway, the Javits convention center and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, among other sites.

Flickr photo by wfyurasko