News & Reviews News Wire Cleveland calls on railroads to fix bridges needing ‘critical repairs’

Cleveland calls on railroads to fix bridges needing ‘critical repairs’

By | June 9, 2023

City says 23 bridges have critical needs; 76 more are non-critical

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Norfolk Southern train crossing lift bridge
Norfolk Southern intermodal Chicago-Rutherford, Pa., intermodal train 26E crosses the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland on April 16, 2016. The city of Cleveland has presented railroads with a list of bridges they say require critical repairs; the bridge shown is not necessarily one on that list. Thomas Mik

CLEVELAND — The City of Cleveland says 23 of the city’s railroad bridges are in need of critical repairs, and is seeking ways to ensure railroads address the issue.

WOSU Radio reports the city presented that list, as well as a list of another 76 bridges in need of non-critical repairs, at a Thursday press conference, with Law Director Mark Griffin saying, “We’re looking at every tool in our civil and criminal toolbox to make sure that we can enforce these to the extent that we can.”

The city has informed the railroads of the full list, although it is not always clear from the list itself which railroads are responsible. While most are listed as being Norfolk Southern or CSX facilities, others are listed as “Penn” or “Penn Central.” Some of the bridges on the non-critical list are for Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority tracks.

The city is also calling on the state Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Railroad Administration to ensure the matter is addressed.

Cleveland City Council member Jenny Spencer said the bridge issue arose out of a city hearing on rail safety in March spurred by the East Palestine, Ohio, derailment.

“Although many important topics were touched upon during the hearing, Class I railroad-owned bridge condition emerged as a prominent and widespread problem, effecting nearly every ward across the city of Cleveland,” Spencer said.

11 thoughts on “Cleveland calls on railroads to fix bridges needing ‘critical repairs’

  1. Yes, what does WS- city mean. Also in the NPR article there’s a reference to a Federal order for an ” encasement” of the Cedar Ave. bridge that’s been ignored. What’s the story here?

  2. Reading the chart it seems the railroads did the inspections but the city (WS City) does the maintenance. No explanation for the WS.

  3. Reading the “Issues” section on the Critical Bridge list, it appears that these observations are those which were made from the “street” level around the substructures of the bridges and did not require access to the structure itself.

  4. How could the city determine that railroad bridges need critical or non-critical repairs when they have no access to them for inspections? Nobody on this site even noticed it’s the city of Cleveland issuing this report? These are privately owned structures that are inspected and maintained by privately owned companies. The only way the city could inspect them with professional bridge engineers is if the railroads let them, and that would have only been possible had hell frozen over. This report is nothing but politcal grandstanding, except for the bridges owned by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

    1. GERALD — Thanks for the great post! I should have noticed (but I did not notice) the points you made. In my career I knew bridge inspectors and many times sought their advice or assistance.

  5. It is interesting that it appears that no bridge on the list was originally built/owned by the New York Central, but almost all were originally built/owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

  6. I’m sure there are dodgy railroad bridges in Cleveland (or elsewhere) …. but this list seems to come from didgy politicians,

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