Online Tool Let States, Cities Request Railroad Bridge Inspection Reports
The new tool has been launched after the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and is one of the first provisions FRA has implemented.
The Federal Railroad Administration recently launched an online tool that lets states and municipalities request inspection reports for rail bridges in their communities. The tool was created after the passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and is one of the first provisions FRA has implemented; the DOT agency also announced it has requested additional resources as part of President Obama's fy2017 budget to double its bridge specialist staff and create a national bridge inventory database and website.
"Communities across the country will now have access to information on the condition of railroad bridges in their area," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "These inspection reports will provide greater transparency between railroads and local leaders, which is an important cornerstone in our comprehensive safety efforts."
A state, city, county, or town now can use FRA's website to request information from inspection reports for local bridges via https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0922. Once FRA receives the request, the railroad that owns the bridge will have 30 days to respond to it, and FRA will give a copy of the report to the requester within 45 days of the original request.
As specified in the FAST Act, this information about the bridge will be included in the report: the date of the last inspection; length of bridge; location of bridge; type of bridge (superstructure); type of structure (substructure); features crossed by the bridge; railroad contact information; and a general statement on the condition of the bridge.
"The Federal Railroad Administration has repeatedly urged railroads to be more responsive and more transparent with state and local leaders concerned about the condition of their local railroad bridges. State and local officials will now be able to get more information from railroads on the infrastructure in their communities," FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg said. "Providing inspection reports to local leaders is a great first step, but more can—and must—be done. We hope Congress will provide the resources to double our bridge safety staff and create a national database."