Department of Transportation

Status of Railroad Bridge Inspection Program

In 1994, the Department of Transportation was required by the State Legislature to establish an inventory for all the railroad bridges in New York State and to ensure that each bridge was inspected annually in accordance with safety standards to be developed by the Department. We examined the actions taken by the Department in fulfilling these requirements and found that the requirements have yet to be fully met because of changes made to the authorizing legislation, extensions granted by the Legislature for certain requirements, and the time needed for the Department to work with the railroads in developing the specific regulations relating to the requirements. At the time of our audit, the inventory of railroad bridges had yet to be completed and most of the railroads in the State had yet to submit inspection procedures for Department approval. Our survey of selected railroads indicates that the qualifications of the inspectors to be used by the some of the railroads may not be adequate, and the inspection procedures to be used by some of the railroads may not comply with the Department's standards. We also note that numerous elevated bridge-like structures believed by the Department to be exempt from the legislation may need some degree of Department oversight. We make a number of recommendations for improving the Department's oversight of railroad bridges.

For a complete copy of Report 99-S-12 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.