900 page report shows 15 railroad bridges in Binghamton in severe or poor condition

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 4:16 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- In the wake of the devastating train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year, combined with concerns from residents Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham called for the inspection of 28 railroad bridges throughout the city.

After what he described as decades of inaction and concerns about structural integrity, Kraham brought in independent engineering firm HUNT-EAS to complete a visual inspection of the bridges.

The result was a comprehensive 900-page report that details many issues with bridges that Kraham said are visible to anyone who passes by.

“This is a detailed and damning report that details what residents have known for years,” said Kraham. “Railroad companies in particular in particular Norfolk Southern have failed to maintain railroad bridges they own in Binghamton leading to structural and safety concerns.”

The report names 15 of the city’s bridges as either in severe or poor condition. Bridges listed as being in severe condition are on Water Street, Front Street, Glenwood Avenue and Jarvis Street.

Damage on a steel railroad bridge located on Front Street
Damage on a steel railroad bridge located on Front Street(City of Binghamton)

HUNT-EAS Engineer Andy Kinsley said each of these bridges has similar issues.

“They’re pretty similar,” said Kinsley. “All the concrete structures have bad concrete loss, rebar exposure and deterioration at the base of the columns. That was similar across almost all of the concrete bridges.”

Kraham said the companies who own these bridges are required to frequently complete their own inspections, but discrepancies between their reports and the city’s report have the mayor calling for more accountability from the companies.

“In some cases, these were inspected or looked at earlier this year by the railroads. So, they have a mandate to inspect their own bridges and report that they are safe to the federal government,” said Kraham. “They have been doing that, but this report appears to contradict a lot of what’s being reported.”

Kraham noted Binghamton does not have the authority to push independent rail companies to repair their bridges.

In an effort to garner support, he has had conversations with Representative Marc Molinaro (R, NY-19), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) to hold these companies accountable on a federal level.