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Accident Report Detail

Collapse of New York Thruway (I-90) Bridge over the Schoharie Creek

Executive Summary

‚ÄčOn April 5, 1987, two spans of the New York State Thruway (1-90) bridge over the Schoharie Creek fell about 80 feet into a rain-swollen creek after pier 3, which partially supported the spans, collapsed. Ninety minutes after the initial collapse, pier 2 and a third span collapsed. Four passenger cars and one tractor-semitrailer plunged into the creek, and 10 persons were fatally injured.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety -Board determines that the-probable cause of the collapse of the Schoharie Creek Bridge was the failure of the New York State Thruway Authority to maintain adequate riprap around the bridge piers, which led to severe erosion in the soil beneath the spread footings. Contributing to the accident were ambiguous plans and specifications used for construction of the bridge, an inadequate NYSTA bridge inspection program, and inadequate oversight by the New York State Department of. Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the lack of structural redundancy in the bridge.

Accident Location: Amsterdam , NY    
Accident Date: 4/5/1987
Accident ID: DCA87MH005

Date Adopted:  
NTSB Number: HAR-88-02
NTIS Number: PB88-916202

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