August 05, 2013

At Rahall’s Request, DOT IG to Review Safety of Nation’s Bridges

Washington, DC – The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (DOT IG) announced this afternoon that his office will conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) management and oversight of measures designed to ensure the safety of the nation’s bridges.  The audit was requested by U.S. Rep Nick J. Rahall, top Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, earlier this year following the collapse of the I-5 Bridge in Washington State. 

“I am grateful to the Inspector General for agreeing to my request and for promptly moving ahead with a comprehensive assessment of FHWA efforts to ensure the safety of our Nation’s bridges,” said Rahall.  “Thousands of bridges across the country are carrying loads that they were not designed to accommodate and are in use well beyond their life expectancy.  In addition to appropriately investing in the repair and replacement of these aging structures, we need to ensure that measures designed to ensure bridge safety are being properly administered.  I look forward to reviewing the Inspector General’s findings in this regard and to working together to ensure the safety of the traveling public.” 

In conducting its audit, the DOT IG will examine how FHWA and the States have responded deficiencies identified in previous IG’s assessments of their bridge safety programs.  Additionally, the DOT IG will assess the Department of Transportation’s progress in carrying out the bridge safety provisions contained in the current surface transportation law, MAP-21. 

Earlier this year, Rahall introduced the SAFE Bridges Act which provides targeted funding for States to begin addressing the $121.2 billion backlog of deficient highway bridges identified in U.S. DOT’s most recent Conditions and Performance Report.   Specifically, the bill authorizes $2.75 billion in both fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014 for States to rehabilitate and replace their structurally deficient, functionally obsolete, and fracture-critical bridges.

Click here to read the announcement from the DOT IG.

Click here to read to the letter Rahall sent to the DOT IG requesting the audit.