State lawmakers are being asked to order an audit of the process used by the Department of Transportation to inspect bridges.
The last time a state audit was performed on the process was in 2001. That review found the DOT was having a hard time keeping up with federal regulations for bridge inspections. However, the DOT Division of Transportation System Development Administrator Kevin Chesnik says the process has been improved since then and the state is able to review and fix bridges in a timely manner. Chesnik told a legislative committee on Monday that getting bridges evaluated and fixed is a top priority for the Department.
Despite the progress, state Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) says the I-35 W bridge collapse in Minneapolis this summer highlights the need to verify that inspections are being done properly. Cowles wants the Legislative Audit Bureau to evaluate the program that's currently in place.
DOT officials say they'd welcome the audit, although Chesnik believes the state's resources may be better spent in other areas. The last audit was conducted after the failure of the Hoan bridge in Milwaukee in 2000.