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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-058
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 QUALIFICATIONS FOR PERSONNEL WHO EVALUATE BRIDGE INSPECTION REPORTS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable 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 - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 9/23/1993
Response: THE BOARD FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT THE FHWA SHOULD STILL ESTABLISH QUALIFICATIONS AND A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR ALL EVALUATORS AND URGES THE FHWA TO RECONSIDER ITS POSITION. MEANWHILE, RECOMMENDATION H-90-58 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/11/1993
Response: THE FHWA REVIEWED THE PROCEDURES USED BY THE FHWA FIELD OFFICES AND STATES AND HAS DETERMINED THAT THE EXISTING REGULATION WHICH ESTABLISHED QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE PERSON IN CHARGE IS SATISFACTORY.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 6/10/1992
Response: Safety Recommendation H-90-58 asked the FHWA to modify the NBIS to require qualifications for personnel who evaluate bridge inspection reports. The FHWA holds that the evaluation of reports is the responsibility of the person in charge of a State's bridge inspection unit. As stated in our previous correspondence, the Safety Board believes that the FHWA should establish qualifications and a training program for evaluators. Pending completion of the report on the review of procedures used by FHWA field offices and States to follow up on significant bridge inspection findings, Safety Recommendation H-90-58 will remain in an "Open--Acceptable Response" status.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/31/1991
Response: THE FHWA HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT THE EVALUATION OF INSPECTION FINDINGS FALLS WITHIN THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN CHARGE OF A STATE'S BRIDGE INSPECTION ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE INDIVIDUAL IN CHARGE IS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE EVALUATION OF THE INSPECTION FINDINGS AND ACTIONS THAT LEAD TO NECESSARY CORRECTIONS.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 10/22/1991
Response: Safety Recommendation H-90-58 asked the FHWA to modify the NBIS to require qualifications for personnel who evaluate bridge inspection reports. As noted in the Safety Board's report, the NBIS establishes qua,lification requirements for the individual in charge of the State bridge inspection organization and for the inspection team leaders; however, the NBIS has no such requirements for bridge inspection report evaluators. In 1987, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) evaluator failed to identify the fundamental importance of the exposure of the column 70 friction piles. Even though the person in charge of the State bridge inspection organization is required to be qualified, the Safety Board believes that it is unreasonable to expect to personally verify the evaluation of each bridge inspection report. At our June meeting, it was agreed that the FHWA would further assess the magnitude of the issue. (The Safety Board continues to believe that the FHWA should establish qualification requirements for evaluators.) evaluators. We also discussed the need for training programs for As you know, a training program for evaluators does not exist. We ask the FHWA to consider establishing such a program. Pending further response from your office, Safety Recommendation H-90-58 has been classified as "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/28/1990
Response: THE FHWA HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT THE EVALUATION OF INSPECTION FINDINGS FALLS WITHIN THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN CHARGE OF A STATE'S BRIDGE INSPECTION ORGANIZATION UNIT. THE EXISTING GUIDANCE IS ADEQUATE.