Senators urge GAO to investigate Federal highway administration framework following questionable testing of potentially-defective guardrails

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, to request a formal investigation into the framework of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) following the continuation of troubling developments regarding the FHWA’s evaluation of defective ET-Plus guardrail and end terminals.

In a joint letter, the Senators noted the questionable safety of certain roadside devices which the FHWA approved and provided grants to states for widespread utilization of these devices and requested the Comptroller and GAO conduct an investigation to address seven areas of concern.

 

“The developments over the past several months raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the current framework for evaluating the reliability and integrity of roadside hardware products, including guardrail end terminals.  Under the current oversight regimen, several parties are involved in setting safety standards and evaluating whether roadside hardware devices meet appropriate criteria,” they wrote.

 

“FHWA, as the guardian of federal taxpayer dollars, has a unique and vital role and responsibility in ensuring that roadside hardware has been properly vetted for safety purposes and is eligible for reimbursement with federal funds.”

 

Controversial testing of FHWA-approved ET-Plus guardrail end terminals recently took place in Texas and a video of the eighth and final test has raised considerable concern by members of Congress and their constituents.

 

Full text of the Senators’ letter to Mr. Dodaro at the GAO can be viewed here.

 

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