In 2012 we reported the results of our audit of the Department of Transportation’s systems to manage the structural safety of bridges. We made nine recommendations to the department to improve processes related to inspection contracting, quality and frequency; contractor certification; bridge information system access; maintenance activity reporting; and capital planning submissions.

In 2015 we reported the results of our follow-up audit and concluded that the department had implemented seven of the recommendations, but we repeated two recommendations for the department to:

  • improve processes to contract inspections to independent third parties
  • improve processes to determine if contracting inspections is cost effective

In 2016 we did a follow-up on the two outstanding recommendations. As the follow-up focused on contracting, we neither examined nor found evidence of unsafe bridges when completing our audit procedures.

Overall conclusion

The department implemented effective contracting processes to manage the structural safety of bridges. The department improved processes for contracting out bridge inspections and determining if contracting out inspections is cost effective.

What we found

The department has implemented both repeated recommendations by:

  • improving processes to contract inspections by formalizing improved criteria as to how proposals are scored and contracts are awarded
  • developing and performing an analysis to determine if contracting out inspections is cost effective

Why this is important to Albertans

The Department of Transportation is responsible for ensuring the safety of bridges across Alberta. Well-maintained bridges are necessary to ensure the safety of Albertans and protect their investment. Many of Alberta’s major industries rely on the highway system to move goods.

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