TxDOT: Freeway railing performed to design code during deadly school bus accident

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A preliminary review by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shows the freeway railing at the site of the deadly school bus accident on September 15 performed according to its design expectations.

Agency officials inspected the bridge on IH 610 South Loop at Telephone Road and reviewed agency documentation related to the bridge and bridge rail, its safety features, its crash-testing criteria and roadway design and maintenance specifications.

The bridge was last inspected in November 2014 and received a rating of satisfactory or better on all criteria. The agency and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the incident.

The inspection report shows that the bridge, which was constructed in 1970, meets current safety standards though it is not current with 2014 design standards.

Quincy Allen, P.E., TxDOT Houston District Engineer, explained, "Roadway design standards and specifications are consistently evolving and in many instances the new standards are more technically specific than previous years' standards and take into account newer technologies. When inspections are conducted, our team compares the infrastructure in place with the most recent standards and notes variances. This notation is not an evaluation or rating of structural safety."

TxDOT crews installed temporary safety repairs at the accident site and permanent repairs will be installed within the upcoming weeks.