Niagara County – County Bridge Maintenance (S9-13-2)

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 522 square miles and has approximately 216,000 residents. The County is governed by a 15-member County Legislature. The County’s budgeted expenditures totaled $335 million in 2012.

The County Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of approximately 88 County-owned bridges. The DPW includes a professional engineer who is directly involved with the oversight of bridges. The DPW’s operating budget was $24.3 million for the 2012 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • 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.
  • For the nine available and completed fiscal years from 2002 through 2011, the County had an average of 13 flags. We examined all 65 flags issued during our scope period from 2007 to 2011 to review for timely responses and/or actions on behalf of the County. Of these flags, 11 lacked sufficient documentation to determine the timeliness of response to NYSDOT. For the remaining 54 flags, the County responded to 42 timely. Of the flags not responded to timely, one was a red flag that was responded to 91 days after received; 49 days later than the NYSDOT’s six week response requirement.

Key Recommendations

  • Track yearly maintenance and repair expenditures by bridge.
  • Ensure that DPW is adhering to NYSDOT requirements for responding to flags received.