New York State Thruway Authority


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York State Thruway Authority
Inspecting Highway Bridges and Repairing Defects

Issued: April 26, 2013
Link to full audit report 2012-S-33

To determine if the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) inspects its highway bridges and repairs defects. The audit covers the period January 1, 2008 to August 17, 2012.

NYSTA is responsible for inspecting its bridges and repairing any defects found during inspections. If a serious ("red flag") structural defect is identified during an inspection, NYSTA must notify the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) within one week. NYSTA has six weeks to take appropriate action (i.e., close the bridge, repair the defect, or take alternative action to ensure that the bridge is safe to use). In addition, NYSTA must provide DOT with the written determinations from bridge inspections within 60 days. Any repairs and alternative actions must be approved by a licensed professional engineer. As of July 2012, NYSTA records show it owns 792
bridges. Between January 2008 and July 2012, 610 flags were issued on NYSTA owned bridges including 22 red flags.

Key Findings

  • NYSTA repairs defects identified during inspections. However, highway bridges were not always inspected timely, including three with flagged conditions and DOT was not always notified of red flags within one week, as required.
  • The initial evaluations and plans of action were not documented for red flagged bridges.

Key Recommendations

  • Inspect all highway bridges on time and report the red flags to DOT within one week, as required.
  • Ensure the initial evaluation and plan of action is sufficiently documented for red flags bridges. Develop a tracking system to monitor compliance.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Department of Transportation: Management and Oversight of Structural Defects on Highway Bridges (2012-F-18)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236