The I-Team went through the documents, and we found Norfolk Southern was cited for 78 bridges and CSX was cited for 17 — all related to the conditions.
Those bridges either have concrete cracking or crumbling and falling dangerously, or they have graffiti and weeds, turning the bridges into eyesores. Some have a combination of those problems.
The Cleveland law director said the city put the railroads on notice about this months ago. Now, citations have been filed with the threat of court punishment.
“They have until Sept. 13 to fix the problem. And if not, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor, and they could be fined $5,000 per day per violation in penalties,” Law Director Mark Griffin said. “Plus, they could be put under court community control to force them to remedy the problems.
“So, we want to send a message we will not stand for out-of-state companies not playing by our rules.”
Griffin pointed out those fines could multiply quickly, since they could be $5,000 a day per violation and not per bridge. The city has 156 pages of violations against Norfolk Southern.
Norfolk Southern issued a statement reading:
Our bridges in Ohio are often landmarks in our local communities – and how they look can be a resident’s first perception of how safe they are. In Ohio, we’ve invested $100 million in installation, rehabilitation and replacement projects over the last five years. In the next five, we anticipate more than $240 million in bridge projects in the state, many of which are referenced in recent reports. While those take time, we’ve been working with local officials to understand and address concerns alongside regular inspections under [Federal Railroad Administration] standards to ensure our bridges remain safe.Statement from Norfolk Southern
CSX also issued a statement. It read:
CSX’s top priority is the safety and security of our operations, which includes the inspection and maintenance of our bridges and infrastructure. CSX’s bridges are maintained to federal standards and are regularly inspected to ensure their structural integrity. We have been in regular contact with officials in Cleveland regarding on this matter and just last week conducted a tour of our bridges in the city with a group of state officials to address any concerns.
We are reviewing the violations and will respond appropriately.Statement from CSX