Local officials can now request railroad bridge safety info

Traffic passes under a railroad bridge
More than 11,000 vehicles a day pass under this railroad bridge in Moorhead, Minn.
Ann Arbor Miller | MPR News 2015

State and local officials can now ask for information about the safety of railroad bridges.

The Federal Railroad Administration on Friday launched a web-based request form for safety inquiries. Once a request is filed, the FRA gives the railroad 30 days to provide the report.

"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," FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg said in a statement. "Providing inspection reports to local leaders is a great first step, but more can — and must — be done."

The FRA has requested funding to double its bridge specialist staff and create a national rail bridge inventory. There is currently no inventory of rail bridges.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act signed by President Obama in December required railroads to provide information about bridge inspections to state or local officials.

The law says the report must include a general statement of the bridge condition.

Railroads do the primary inspection of bridges, with oversight from the FRA.

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