NASHVILLE, TENN. —” In response to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) latest rules for Bridge Safety Standards (FRA-2009-0014), Crouch Engineering, P.C., has launched its new SmartLine FRA Bridge Compliance Program.

“SmartLine is designed to ensure that all Crouch Engineering clients are meeting the tough new FRA Bridge Requirements and that authorized personnel have quick access to pertinent data,” said Harvey Crouch, president of Crouch Engineering. The new regulations mandate that all railway bridges be inspected and load rated within a program under the direct supervision of a licensed, qualified professional railroad engineer. Every railroad bridge must have documented inspection reports and load ratings accessible and on file in accordance with the FRA rules. A complete FRA Bridge Compliance assessment form is available on the Crouch Engineering website at

Already in effect for Class One railroad operators, the new FRA bridge rules will take effect for all railroad operators by September 2012.

“These new FRA Bridge Regulations mandate some major changes for the industry, requiring railroad operators and their engineers to move quickly in order to meet the deadlines. The new mandates have led to innovations in our inspection reporting and load rating processes. We are also using improved technology to streamline how we handle bridge inspections and load ratings documentation,” Crouch said. Crouch Engineering’s client listing includes more than 120 railroads nationwide and the firm has inspected, rated, and designed thousands of railroad bridges since its founding in 1991.

“One of the major changes in the new rules requires licensed engineers to manage the bridge inspection program, which means unlicensed contractors can no longer run inspections on railway bridges. Consequently, hundreds of new bridge inspections need to be conducted in a short period of time,” Crouch explained. In preparation for the introduction of the SmartLine Program, Crouch Engineering has added qualified staff, engineering resources, and invested heavily in new technology and training.

In January, Crouch Engineering launched the firm’s new website to facilitate the SmartLine Program introduction. The new website features a password-protected area allowing clients to view and download SmartLine bridge inspection reports, engineering drawings, photography, and load-rating documents for easy access on demand. Agility Marketing Group, based in Nashville, Tenn., designed the new website. In addition to launching the new website, Crouch Engineering has developed new software to manage data from bridge inspections more efficiently, resulting in reduced costs and more accessible real time information for the firm’s clients.

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