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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-056
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 8:15 P.M. CENTRAL STANDARD TIME, APRIL 1, 1989, AN 85. 5-FOOT SECTION OF THE 4,201-FOOT-LONG NORTHBOUND U.S. ROUTE 51 BRIDGE OVER THE HATCHIE RIVER FELL ABOUT 20 FEET INTO THE 24-FOOT-DEEP RAIN-SWOLLEN RIVER AFTER TWO PILE-SUPPORTED COLUMN BENTS SUPPORTING THREE BRIDGE SPANS COLLAPSED. WITNESS REPORTS AND PHYSICAL EVIDENCE INDICATE THAT THE SOUTHERN COLUMN BENT (70) AND THE TWO SPANS THAT IT SUPPORTED FELL QUICKLY, CAUSING FOUR PASSENGER CARS AND ONE TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER TO PLUNGE INTO THE RIVER. THE ADJACENT COLUMN BENT (71) AND THE SPAN THAT IT WAS SUPPORTING THEN COLLAPSED ON TOP OF THE VEHICLES. THE RIVER HAD APPARENTLY BEEN AT FLOOD STAGE SINCE NOVEMBER 1988. ALL EIGHT VEHICLE OCCUPANTS DIED AS A RESULT OF THE COLLAPSE. (COVINGTON, TENNESSEE)
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: MODIFY THE NATIONAL BRIDGE INSPECTION STANDARDS TO REQUIRE FOLLOW-UP OR DIVER INSPECTIONS OF THOSE BRIDGES WITH UNDER WATER MEMBERS THAT CANNOT BE EXAMINED VISUALLY OR BY FEEL DURING SCHEDULED BRIDGE INSPECTIONS BECAUSE OF EXCESSIVE WATER DEPTH OR TURBIDITY.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Covington, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA89MH006
Accident Reports: Collapse of the Northbound U.S. Route 51 Bridge Spans over the Hatchie River
Report #: HAR-90-01
Accident Date: 4/1/1989
Issue Date: 7/24/1990
Date Closed: 9/23/1993
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/23/1993
Response: THE BOARD HAS REVIEWED BOTH THE FHWA BRIDGE INSPECTOR'S TRAINING MANUAL/90 AND THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS (AASHTO) MANUAL FOR THE CONDITION EVALUATION OF BRIDGES AND DETERMINED THAT THEY CONTAIN GUIDANCE TO THE STATES ON FOLLOW-UP OR DIVER INSPECTIONS. BASED ON THIS INFORMATION, RECOMMENDATION H-90-56 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/11/1993
Response: THE FHWA DIRECTION ON THIS SUBJECT IS CONTAINED IN THE 1988 NATIONAL BRIDGE INSPECTION STANDARDS (NBIS), THE TECHNICAL ADVISORIES T5104.20 AND T5140.21 THE MANUAL USED IN DEMONSTRATION PROJECT 80 ENTITLED UNDERWATER INSPECTION OF BRIDGES AND THE REVISION TO THE FHWA BRIDGE INSPECTORS TRAINING MANUAL 90. GUIDANCE TO THE STATES IS ALSO PROVIDED IN THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR THE CONDITION EVALUATION OF BRIDGES.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 6/10/1992
Response: Safety Recommendation H-90-56 asked the FHWA to modify the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) to require followup or diver inspections of those bridges with underwater members that cannot be examined visually or by feel during scheduled bridge inspections because of excessive water depth or turbidity. The Safety Board is pleased to learn that both the FHWA Bridge Inspector's Training Manual 90 and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Maintenance inspection of Bridges will contain guidance to the States on followup or diver inspections. Pending completion of the revisions, Safety Recommendation H-90-56 will remain in an "Open--Acceptable Response" status.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/31/1991
Response: THE FHWA DIRECTION ON THIS SUBJECT IS CONTAINED IN THE 1988 NATIONAL BRIDGE INSPECTION STANDARDS (NBIS), THE TECHNICAL ADVISORIES T 5140.20 AND T 5140.21, THE MANUAL USED IN DEMONSTRATION PROJECT 80 ENTITLED UNDERWATER INSPECTION OF BRIDGES AND THE UPCOMING REVISION TO THE FHWA BRIDGE INSPECTOR'S TRAINING MANUAL 90. GUIDANCE TO THE STATES IS PROVIDED IN THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR MAINTENANCE INSPECTION OF BRIDGES.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 10/22/1991
Response: This is in reference to your November 28, 1990, response and the June 13, 1991, meeting between members of our staffs concerning Safety Recommendations H-90-56 through -60. These recommendations were issued to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a result of the Safety Board's investigation of the collapse of the northbound U.S. Route 51 bridge spans over the Hatchie River near Covington, Tennessee, on April 1, 1989. Safety Recommendation H-90-56 asked the FHWA to modify the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) to require followup or diver inspections of those bridges with underwater members that cannot be examined visually or by feel during scheduled bridge inspections because of excessive water depth or turbidity. The Safety Board notes that the upcoming revision to the FHWA Bridge Inspector’s Training Manual 90 will contain guidance to the States on followup or diver inspections. Pending completion of the revised manual, Safety Recommendation H-90-56 has been classified as "Open--.Acceptable Response."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/28/1990
Response: THE FHWA DIRECTION ON THIS SUBJECT IS CONTAINED IN THE 1988 NATIONAL BRIDGE INSPECTION STANDARDS, THE TECHNICAL ADVISORIES T5140.20 & T5140.21, THE MANUAL USED IN DEMONSTRATION PROJECT 80 ENTITLED UNDERWATER INSPECTION OF BRIDGES, AND THE UPCOMING REVISION TO THE FHWA BRIDGE INSPECTOR'S TRAINING MANUAL 90. GUIDANCE TO STATES IS ALSO PROVIDED IN THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR MAINTENANCE INSPECTION OF BRIDGES.