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FRA announces changes to bridge safety program

Sarah Feinberg
Sarah Feinberg

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration has bolstered its bridge safety oversight program in an effort to protect rail workers and the public.

FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg announced the results of an agency internal review in an April 14 blog post. The review prompted several significant changes, including:

  • FRA bridge safety specialists now report to leadership in the agency’s Office of Safety. Previously, bridge safety specialists reported to individual supervisors.
  • FRA has established new, written guidance that orders bridge safety specialists to follow a data-driven and risk-based approach when prioritizing and conducting reviews.
  • New enforcement efforts will provide bridge safety specialists with specific instructions on how to report defects and violations, recommend civil penalties, verify that track owners have taken proper steps to address non-compliance issues, and other measures.
  • FRA is working to add to its inventory of almost 800 railroads that own bridges.

“While Congress has charged individual railroads with carrying out much of the maintenance and work on rail bridge safety, FRA takes our own charge from Congress very seriously,” Feinberg wrote in the blog post. “In keeping that charge, we will continue to conduct strenuous and consistent oversight of railroads’ bridge safety management plans. With data driven practices, new leadership and stronger internal controls, FRA has taken another step to increase railroad safety.”

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