Blogs > Boat Blog > Video: Crumbling Concrete – Failing Bridges? Hudson River at Risk From Crude Oil Transport

Video: Crumbling Concrete – Failing Bridges? Hudson River at Risk From Crude Oil Transport


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Do these rail bridges look okay to you? (See more photos.)

In this video, Riverkeeper follows up on a tip about crumbling concrete foundations at two rail bridges that are traversed by freight trains – including those hauling volatile Bakken crude oil – along the Hudson River banks.

Riverkeeper’s John Lipscomb used a small boat to visit the two bridges, located just south of Storm King Mountain on the western bank of the river. He photographed and videotaped conditions at the foundations: crumbling concrete, vertical cracks, exposed rebar, and bolts that have loose or missing nuts. He also photographed badly eroded concrete foundations of a rail bridge that crosses high above the Rondout Creek in Kingston.

The video refers to articles in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle about the fact that railroads, not government agencies, are responsible for routine inspections of these bridges throughout New York State.

A related editorial says “railroad bridges have long fallen through the cracks of government oversight.”

A December 2013 report by the New York State Office of the Comptroller concluded that the state Department of Transportation “does not sufficiently monitor whether the railroads comply with its bridge inspection and reporting requirements.”

New York has conducted limited inspection “blitzes” of railroad tracks, rail yards and tank cars and identified numerous “non-critical” violations as well as serious problems.
Governor’s press release: Feb. 28, 2014
Governor’s press release: May 1, 2014
Governor’s press release: Sept. 26, 2014

The Hudson River and communities up and down the Hudson are facing an imminent risk of spills and catastrophic accidents because of the sudden spike in crude oil shipments through New York in the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys. Riverkeeper is working on many fronts to demand that our environment and safety be protected from this new threat.

Your voice is needed.

TAKE ACTION: Join Riverkeeper’s call for a moratorium on crude oil transportation through New York State:

And help demand a full study on the risks of this “virtual pipeline” of oil along the Hudson River through a complete environmental impact review of all relevant pending and previously granted permits:



Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
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