FRA Lacks Guidance on Overseeing Compliance with Bridge Safety Standards

As required by law, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a rule on Bridge Safety Standards in 2010 that requires railroad track owners to implement bridge management programs that include procedures for determining bridge load capacities and inspecting bridges. In light of congressional interest and because public and railroad employee safety depends on the structural integrity of bridges, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this audit. The objective was to assess FRA’s oversight for ensuring that track owners’ bridge management programs comply with FRA’s rule on bridge safety. Specifically, OIG examined FRA’s processes for (1) prioritizing track owners for bridge safety reviews, and (2) conducting bridge safety reviews and following up on identified issues of non-compliance. To conduct this work, OIG visited bridge sites; interviewed FRA and track owners’ officials; and examined bridge management programs and supporting documents. OIG contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to provide expert technical support and review aspects of track owners’ bridge safety practices. OIG analyzed statistical samples of track owners and bridges, but OIG is not making projections regarding the universe of regulated entities or structures. OIG found that FRA has not developed guidance on prioritization of track owners for bridge safety reviews nor developed guidance for its specialists on conducting bridge safety reviews. Six recommendations are included to improve FRA’s oversight of railroad bridge safety.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Audit Report
  • Features: Appendices; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 25p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01599863
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: ST-2016-059
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 18 2016 4:41PM