BNSF - Safety and Security - Bridge Safety and Inspection

Bridge Safety and Inspection

At BNSF, maintaining safe and reliable infrastructure is of the utmost importance. We follow a rigorous Bridge Management Program that includes comprehensive inspections, regular maintenance, and when necessary, replacement of rail bridges on our network. We have more than 13,000 bridges with a total length of more than 300 miles of track that must be kept safe, secure and structurally sound. We need our infrastructure to be reliable so we can safely move the freight our customers need and the goods that are vital to our nation and our economy.

Regular Comprehensive Inspections

  • Encompasses the entire bridge structure.
  • Exceeds the frequency federally required.
  • Specialized training is required for all our bridge inspectors.

Federal Regulations

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires railroads to have a Bridge Management Program to ensure the safety of railroad bridges. The program, which is audited by the FRA through document review and field verification, must include inspecting every bridge in service annually, with no more than 540 days between inspections.

Commitment to Maintenance, Repair & Replacement

  • In the rare instance a structural defect is identified, engineering guidelines ensure appropriate protection is established, up to and including removing the bridge from rail service, until the defect is repaired.

Supplemental Inspection Technology

  • Utilizes Bridge Inspection Vehicles (BIVs) that are specially equipped to allow safe access to inspect the entire bridge structure.
  • Deploys a team of divers to inspect certain bridge foundations that are under water.
  • We continue to evaluate a wide range of UAV technologies to develop baseline data models of bridges around the system. To improve upon this, we are testing tools that will enable us to refine the detection of changes on our bridge structures.

Submit a Rail Bridge Inquiry

Use this form to report a bridge concern.

Rail Bridge Safety

See BNSF’s commitment to rail bridge safety in action.