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Downed railroad had been inspected hours before derailment: BNSF

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad team inspected the failed rail the very day it broke, according to a company spokesperson.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board states, the rail line, which traverses over Interstate 25, broke Sunday afternoon causing the coal train cars to derail and spill -- taking out the bridge.

60-year-old trucker, Lafolette Henderson, was killed.

Interstate travel was blocked entirely for two and a half days between Colorado Springs and Pueblo; southbound I-25 was opened Wednesday, while northbound I-25 was expected to reopen Thursday night.

According to BNSF, teams "regularly conduct extensive track, bridge, rail and weather event inspections" across the network. Those include rail detection testing, advanced track infrastructure testing and visual inspections.

BNSF, nor the Colorado Department of Transportation, are aware of which entity owns the bridge on which the tracks travel, despite checking records dating back to the 1950s; however, BNSF was responsible for inspections and maintenance of the structure.

The rail company intends to replace the bridge and the rail.

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Heather Skold

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