Rensselaer County – County Bridge Maintenance (S9-13-6)

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 652 square miles and has approximately 159,000 residents. The County is governed by a 19-member County Legislature. The County’s budgeted expenditures totaled $312 million in 2012.

The Department of Engineering and Highways is responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of bridges. This Department includes a County Engineer and a professional engineer who are directly involved with the oversight of bridges. The Department’s operating budget was $9.9 million for the 2012 fiscal year. The Department is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of approximately 60 County-owned bridges. It is not fiscally responsible for other bridges in the County.

Key Findings

  • The County does have a written plan for bridge maintenance; however, it has not been formally approved by the Legislature. This plan includes cyclical maintenance and corrective action programs.
  • 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.

Key Recommendation

  • Record and monitor repairs and maintenance by bridge.