Some MTA inspections are badly lacking, report finds

May 9, 2013 2:44:22 PM PDT
Elevated track and bridges connect key parts of the 240 mile subway system, but inspection of these critical components is haphazard according to this new report.

The Inspector General bluntly states that in some cases the MTA ''has not inspected certain critical structures for decades? (and therefore) increases the risk of serious structural failure."

"I don't think any of the riders want a system where they are riding over elevated structures that haven't been inspected in decades," William Henderson of Citizens MTA Advisory Committee said.

The Inspector General calls out the MTA for failure to do required annual inspections of elevated stations and found serious defects in some of their steel girders. We also found deterioration of steel beams on parts of the elevated 7-line in Queens.

One of the most startling findings, however, involves the A-line's concrete viaduct that crosses Jamaica Bay. The report found no unit within the New York City Transit is assigned to regularly inspect this key connector.

"These structures are over salt water, things that get constant salt air and mist, if anything you'd want to inspect them more frequently than structures on land," Henderson said.

Three years ago in response to a partial subway ceiling collapse, the Inspector General blamed inspection weaknesses. The MTA formed a task force and promised big improvements.

So the lack of any real changes might account for the Inspector General's tough warning this time saying "transit can no longer tolerate the continued risk."

"There's the risk of catastrophic failure - a relatively small risk, but the stakes are very high," Henderson said.