Inspector General Auditing FRA's Railroad Bridge Safety Oversight
Complying with the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, FRA issued a rule in 2010 that requires railroad track owners to implement bridge management programs and perform bridge inspections at least annually.
DOT's Office of Inspector General is launching an audit of the Federal Railroad Administration's oversight of railroad bridge safety. The OIG announcement stated that FRA records show during the past 10 years, 24 accidents caused by the misalignment or failure of railroad bridges resulted in 392 injuries. This audit aims to assess how well FRA is overseeing compliance with a its 2010 rule, issued in response to the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, that requires railroad track owners to implement bridge management programs that address a variety of requirements, including performing bridge inspections at least annually and protecting bridges from overweight and oversize loads.
Mitchell Behm, assistant inspector general for Surface Transportation Audits, signed the announcement of the audit that was issued to FRA's administrator.
It cites the 24 train accidents caused by misalignment or failure of railroad bridges and notes that in recent years, railroad traffic has increased significantly, including the transport of hazardous materials such as crude oil. "Due to the potential destructive effects of bridge failures, we are initiating an audit of FRA's oversight of railroad bridge safety. Our objective is to assess FRA's oversight for ensuring that track owners' bridge management programs comply with FRA's rule on bridge safety standards. We plan to begin this audit in March 2015, and will contact your audit liaison to schedule an entrance conference," it states.