CLEVELAND – The city of Cleveland issues 99 first-degree misdemeanor violations for CSX- and Norfolk Southern-owned railroad bridges.
In June of this year, RT&S reported that “Justin Bibb, the Mayor of Cleveland, surveyed residents about rail bridges in the city and sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and Class Is.”
Now, the city of Cleveland has issued misdemeanor violations at “99 locations in all parts of Cleveland for falling and crumbling concrete, high weeds, graffiti and more,” according to a report from News 5 Cleveland. The first-degree misdemeanor violations are for CSX and Norfolk Southern owned rail bridges across the city, including a NS owned railroad bridge “spanning over Broadway Avenue near Harvard.” The bridge is “terrible; when it rains, it rains down on my car. . . Concrete can fall down on your windshield, and what, you’re going to have an accident, people behind you are going to wreck; they can’t leave it like that,” says a Cleveland Slavic Village resident.
The Broadway Avenue railroad bridge is one of the railroad bridges listed on the list of “Critical Railroad Bridge Infrastructure” that the city compiled and sent last June.
According to the report, the Chief Assistant Director of Law for Code Enforcement, David Roberts, said “the violations are part of a general, aggressive code enforcement approach established by Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb to force companies to meet their responsibilities.” He went on to say, “we’re not actually citing them to repair the bridges, that’s a federal requirement, and we have turned them into the federal government to say you need to come out and inspect these bridges. . . But even if they want to say that it’s not very serious to have one bridge with graffiti and weeds and crumbling concrete, that’s serious to us; that’s someone’s neighborhood, someone walks through there, someone drives through there.”
The city has also contacted the FRA to urge “the federal agency to conduct structural inspections of all railroad bridges in Cleveland.”
CSX responded to the story and issued this statement:
“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.”
Norfolk Southern also responded and said:
“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 FRA standards to ensure our bridges remain safe.”
Now, David Roberts says that the law department in Cleveland is “prepared to move forward on all violations in Cleveland Housing Court if repairs and improvements aren’t started by Sept. 12th.” If the Class Is are found guilty, they could be fined $5,000 per day per violation notice.