FRA, railroads agreement
will enhance bridge safety
Sep 25, 2008 8:28 AM
Enhanced bridge safety will be the result of the first standard railroad bridge inspection and maintenance agreement between railroads and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced FRA Administrator Joseph H. Boardman.
"Having a common set of baseline inspection and maintenance practices against which all railroads are measured will help ensure the structural integrity and safety of the nationís rail bridges for years to come," Boardman said. He said the agreement is a major step forward in providing transparency within the industry and for the public about how the safety of railroad bridges is managed.
Boardman said the new agreement--called The Essential Elements of a Railroad Bridge Management Program--was developed and approved by the FRA Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from the FRA, rail management, rail labor, and other industry stakeholders. The nine essential elements, which apply to both large and small railroads, include: maintaining a detailed bridge inventory; having procedures for the design and safety rating of bridges; ensuring bridge inspectors are properly qualified; establishing procedures for performing bridge inspections; and having a plan to protect train operations after discovery of a critical bridge problem.
The FRA intends to formally incorporate the Essential Elements into the existing FRA bridge safety policy by the end of 2008, Boardman said. He said the new policy will be an integral part of a railroadís bridge management evaluation.
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