Cayuga County – County Bridge Maintenance (S9-13-4)

Issued Date
July 19, 2013

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether counties are properly maintaining their bridges to ensure the safety of those who travel on them for the period January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2011.


The County covers 692 square miles and has approximately 80,000 residents. The County is governed by a 15-member County Legislature. The County’s budgeted expenditures totaled $134 million in 2012.

The County Highway Department is responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of bridges. This Department includes a Highway Superintendent and a senior engineer technician who are directly involved with the oversight of bridges. The Department’s operating budget was $10.3 million for the 2012 fiscal year. The Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair of 42 County-owned bridges. It is not fiscally responsible for other bridges in the County.

Key Findings

  • The County does not have a written plan for bridge maintenance or replacement.
  • The County does not track maintenance and repairs by bridge, which could make it more difficult to determine when it is more economical to replace rather than repair a bridge.
  • Further, for the nine available and completed fiscal years from 2002 through 2011, the County had an average of seven flags (the number of deficient bridges is generally higher for the years in which assessments took place). We examined all 48 flags issued during the period 2007 to 2011 to review for timely responses and/or actions on behalf of the County. Of the 48 flags examined, 31 lacked any documentation regarding a County response to NYSDOT, so we could not determine if the County responded timely. The County’s response to these four flags was an average of 10 days later (52 days) than NYSDOT’s six-week response requirement.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish a written plan for bridge maintenance and replacement.
  • Record and monitor repairs and maintenance by bridge.
  • Ensure that bridge flags are responded to within the NYSDOT required timeframe. Ensure that response letters to NYSDOT are maintained.