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Accident Report Detail

U.S. Towboat Chris Collision with the Judge William Seeber Bridge

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAbout 3:30 p.m. CDT on May 28, 1993, the towboat CHRIS, pushing the empty hopper barge DM 3021, collided with a support pier of the eastern span of the Judge William Seeber Bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Judge William Seeber Bridge, known locally as the Claiborne Avenue bridge, carries Highway Route 39 over the New Orleans Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, known locally as the Industrial Canal. The impact severed bent 21, causing two approach spans (about 145 feet of bridge deck) and the two-column bent to collapse onto the barge and into the shallow waters of the canal. Two automobiles carrying three people fell with the four-lane bridge deck resulting in one death and serious injuries to the other two people. As a result of the accident, the canal was closed to navigation traffic for 2 days and the bridge was closed to vehicle traffic for 2 months.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable causes of the collapse of the Judge William Seeber Bridge to be (1) the towboat operator's poor judgment in leaving the wheelhouse of the unsecured towboat unattended and (2) the failure of various responsible Federal, State, and local government agencies to Institute an effective program for assessing and managing risks to this bridge.

Accident Location: New Orleans , LA    
Accident Date: 5/28/1993
Accident ID: DCA93MM020

Date Adopted: 6/7/1994
NTSB Number: HAR-94-03
NTIS Number: PB94-916203

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