Oswego County – County Bridge Maintenance (S9-13-8)

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 952 square miles and has approximately 122,000 residents. The County is governed by a 25-member County Legislature. The County’s budgeted expenditures totaled $193 million in 2012.

The County Highway Department is responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of bridges. This department includes a Highway Superintendent and a professional engineer 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 approximately 113 County owned-bridges and 19 town- and village-owned bridges. The County is fiscally responsible for the maintenance of the County-, town-, and village-owned bridges.

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 21 flags. We examined all 89 flags issued during the period 2007 to 2011 to review for timely responses and/or actions on behalf of the County. Of the 89 flags reviewed, County officials could not produce sufficient response documentation for 72 flags. Therefore, we could not determine if the County had responded to these flags in a timely manner.

Key Recommendations

  • Budget for and track spending on bridge maintenance and repairs.
  • Comply with the NYSDOT flag response time for all types of flags.