ROADS/BRIDGES: FRA urges increased transparency about condition of privately-held railroad bridges

The FRA calls on railroads to share more information about safety of aging bridges. 

Bridges News September 11, 2015
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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is urging railroads to share more about their bridge inspections and maintenance in order to better address local concerns about bridge deterioration.
Local officials and residents complain they don’t have access to information about the safety of deteriorating bridges and tunnels in their communities.
The FRA officials observed 4,000 bridges and conducted 800 field audits during the last two years, according to Feinberg. But railroads are responsible for inspecting, maintaining and repairing their privately owned bridges.
FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg wrote a letter to hundreds of local railroads and trade organizations, urging them to build public confidence in their maintenance programs by telling communities more about how they inspect and repair about 100,000 bridges nationwide.
Feinberg’s letter follows local disputes about oil trains passing through their communities. Concerns were sparked in July 2013, when a freight train carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota derailed in the Canadian city Lac-Megantic, and the fire killed 42 people and destroyed dozens of buildings.
The owner, Canadian Pacific, refused to share annual inspection reports. But the railroad said the bridge is safe and aging steel supports will be encased in concrete.

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