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Accident Report Detail

Collapse of the S.R 675 Bridge Spans over the Pocomoke River

Executive Summary

‚ÄčOn August 17, 1988, at about 1:00 a.m. e.d.t., a 85 foot section of the 275 foot long S.R. 675 bridge over the Pocomoke River fell about 30 feet into the river after two pile bents supporting the bridge collapsed. Witness reports indicated that the bridge may have been sagging before the collapse and no vehicles were involved in the collapse sequence. The weather was clear and dry, and water conditions were reported to be calm.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collapse of the S.R. 675 bridge spans was the inadequate response of the Maryland State Highway Administration to deficiencies noted in the underwater bridge inspection reports. This resulted in the failure to repair or replace submerged untreated timber piles, which had deteriorated from the combined effects of bacteria, fungi, and aquatic insect larvae infestation, and abrasion by tidal currents. Contributing to the collapse was the improper batter of the timber piles and the preexisting cracks in the superstructure girders.

Accident Location: Pocomoke City , MD    
Accident Date: 8/17/1988
Accident ID: DCA88MH008

Date Adopted: 11/7/1989
NTSB Number: HAR-89-04
NTIS Number: PB89-916205