1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Highway
  4. Article 9: Bridges


Section 231 Program of comprehensive bridge management and inspection

Highway (HAY)

1. Program establishment. The commissioner is authorized and directed to establish, implement and exercise oversight of and over a program of comprehensive bridge management and inspection. Such program shall facilitate the systematic organization and coordination of bridge inspection, maintenance, and repair information and practices to ensure and provide for sound comprehensive bridge management, thorough bridge inspections and proper, cost effective preventive maintenance for all bridges, publicly-owned, operated or maintained and shall further establish an inventory of all privately owned bridges. The program shall also include the establishment and maintenance of a bridge information data base and bridge information center. For the purpose of this section, the term bridge, shall refer only to bridges publicly-owned, operated or maintained, as defined in section two hundred thirty of this article. The commissioner is hereby authorized to designate within the department an office, the primary function of which shall be to administer the program.

  2. Commissioner's authorization. In implementing the program, the commissioner is authorized:

  (a) to close any bridge which, if not closed may constitute a threat to any person's health, safety or welfare and, to open such bridge at such time as the commissioner deems appropriate;

  (b) to maintain a civil action against any public or private entity to compel compliance with the provisions of this article;

  (c) to conduct any inquiry pertinent or material to the discharge of the functions, powers and duties imposed by law, and through designated members of the staff, to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and compel the production of such books, papers, records and documents as may be relevant to any such inquiry or investigation;

  (d) to have access to any and all books, records and papers relating to bridge design, construction, inspection, repair or maintenance maintained by any person subject to the provisions of this article;

  (e) to encourage the development of comprehensive bridge management plans by public entities and to provide technical assistance, subject to available funds, to any public entity in the development of such plans; and

  (f) to enter in or upon railroad right-of-way to inspect highway bridges. Upon reasonable notice from the department, a railroad shall provide the use of personnel familiar with railroad operations in order to provide safe access and protection from freight and passenger locomotive or train traffic to individuals who are required to enter upon or cross railroad property for the purpose of inspecting highway bridges. Any railroad providing such personnel shall be reimbursed for the reasonable and necessary costs, as determined by the commissioner, of providing such personnel. If any railroad shall fail to provide personnel in accordance with the department's request, the commissioner may impose a civil penalty at a rate not to exceed the actual costs incurred for each day or portion of a day that the inspection is delayed.

  (g) to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the provisions of this section and to exercise and perform such other functions, powers and duties as may from time to time be conferred or imposed by law.

  3. Program responsibilities. In addition to the commissioner's authority set forth in subdivision one of this section, the commissioner shall:

  (a) enforce the provisions of this article;

  (b) obtain bridge inspection reports that are required by the uniform code of bridge inspection and structural integrity as set forth in section two hundred thirty-two of this article;

  (c) review or require review of inspection reports, in accordance with guidelines established by the commissioner, for the purposes of compliance with the code and the provisions of this article and any rules and regulations adopted in accordance with this article;

  (d) make available training materials to persons performing maintenance and inspection pursuant to this article; and

  (e) prescribe qualifications of bridge design, construction, and inspection experience for licensed professional engineers who may perform or supervise bridge inspections or evaluations in accordance with the provisions of this article.

  4. Bridge data information center. (a) The commissioner shall, within appropriations provided therefor, establish and maintain a bridge data information center which shall include: (1) a central information data base for all bridges subject to the provisions of this section and which shall collect, accept, catalogue, index, cross reference, automate and maintain information on such bridges which shall include but not be limited to information of the following subject areas: ownership, location, construction date, design engineer, design type, summary of major design features, maintenance history, inspection rating, dates of substantial rehabilitation, restrictions, record of any collapse or failure, location of all documents relating to such bridges and any other information deemed necessary and appropriate by the commissioner and such information data base shall provide for the expeditious and accurate retrievability of all the information housed therein; and (2) a bridge information center for all information established and maintained in the data base subject to subparagraph one of this paragraph and for such other information as the commissioner may deem necessary and appropriate regarding bridges and bridge technology and such information shall include but not be limited to information on state-of-the-art research and technology relating to bridge design and integrity and information regarding bridge failure and bridge collapse.

  (b) All information collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be made available for public inspection and copying pursuant to the provisions of the freedom of information law.

  5. Bridge design and substantial structural alteration. On and after the effective date of this section, every public entity shall submit to the commissioner and the commissioner shall accept for filing purposes the designs of bridges to be constructed after such date and plans for any substantial structural alteration, repair or rehabilitation to be performed after such effective date. All such designs and plans must be certified by a licensed professional engineer and shall bear the signature and seal or stamp of such engineer. The commissioner shall establish by rule and regulation procedures necessary to implement the provisions of this subdivision.

  6. Annual report. The commissioner shall by the first day of January, nineteen hundred ninety, and the first day of January each year thereafter, provide to the governor and the legislature an annual report regarding the status of the bridge management and inspection program as established by section two hundred thirty-one of this article. Such report shall include but not be limited to the program goals and the extent that such goals have been met in the previous year, an overview of the development and status of the bridge data base and information center and the status and condition of all bridges in this state.

  7. Cooperation and assistance of any person or entity. To effectuate the purposes of this article, the commissioner may request and shall receive from any person or entity subject to the provisions of this article and the same are authorized and directed to provide such cooperation and assistance, services and data as is necessary for the commissioner to carry out the provisions of this article.