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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-060
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: REQUIRE THAT STATES REVIEW OVERWEIGHT VEHICLE TRAFFIC TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTS OF FREQUENT OVERWEIGHT LOADS ON UNPOSTED BRIDGES. REQUIRE THAT, BASED ON THESE EVALUATIONS, THE STATES LIMIT THE NUMBER OR SIZE OF OVERWEIGHT VEHICLES PERMITTED TO CROSS THOSE BRIDGES THAT MAY BE DAMAGED BECAUSE OF FREQUENT EXPOSURE TO HEAVY LOADS.
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 THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR THE CONDITION EVALUATION OF BRIDGES, WHICH CONTAINS INFORMATION ON PERMITS THAT ALLOW OVERSIZED AND OVERWEIGHT VEHICLES TO TRAVEL ON THE HIGHWAY SYSTEM. THE MANUAL STATES THAT PERMITS SHOULD NOT BE APPROVED IN SITUATIONS WHERE THE LOAD OR THE HAULING VEHICLE CAN BE REDUCED TO CONFORM TO THE SIZE AND WEIGHT LIMITATIONS OF LOCAL REGULATIONS. BASED ON THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE AASHTO MANUAL, RECOMMENDATION H-90-60 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTBLE ACTION."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/11/1993
Response: THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR MAINTENANCE INSPECTION OF BRIDGES INCLUDES PROCEDURES FOR FATIGUE EVALUATION OF STEEL BRIDGES FOR DETERMINING SAFE REMAINING LIFE OF THOSE BRIDGES. OUR FURTHER EFFORTS IN REGARD TO THIS RECOMMENDATION WILL INCLUDE FURTHER EVALUATION OF THE EFFORT TO REVISE THE AASHTO MANUAL, CONTINUED MONITORING OF RESEARCH ON LOAD EFFECTS, AND THE CONTINUED WORK BY THE OFFICE OF MOTOR CARRIERS TO EVALUATE LOAD ENFORCEMENT POLICIES.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 6/10/1992
Response: Safety Recommendation H-90-60 requested the FHWA to require that States review overweight vehicle traffic to evaluate the effects of frequent overweight loads on unposted bridges, and to require that, ba:sed on these evaluations, the States limit the number or size of overweight vehicles permitted to cross those bridges that may be damaged because of frequent exposure to heavy loads. The Safety Board understands that research has shown that overweight vehicles reduce the fatigue life of steel bridges, and the bridge inspection program has been upgraded over the years to increase the intensity of inspection. In that regard, this recommendation will remain in an "Open--Acceptable Response" status pending our receipt of the AASHTO Manual for Maintenance Inspection of Bridges.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/31/1991
Response: THE AASHTO MANUAL FOR MAINTENANCE INSPECTION OF BRIDGES IS BEING REVISED AND WILL INCLUDE PROCEDURES FOR FATIGUE EVALUATION OF STEEL BRIDGES FOR DETERMINING SAFE REMAINING LIFE OF THOSE BRIDGES.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 10/22/1991
Response: Safety Recommendation H-90-60 requested the FHWA to require that States review overweight vehicle traffic to evaluate the effects of frequent overweight loads on unposted bridges and to require that, based on these evaluations, the States limit the number or size of overweight vehicles permitted to cross those bridges that may be damaged because of frequent exposure to heavy loads. The Safety Board understands that the FHWA has

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/28/1990
Response: RESEARCH HAS INDICATED THAT OVERWEIGHT VEHICLES REDUCE THE FATIGUE LIFE OF STEEL BRIDGES WITH FATIGUE PRONE DETAILS. THE BRIDGE INSPECTION PROGRAM HAS BEEN UPGRADED OVER THE YEARS TO INCREASE THE INTENSITY OF INSPECTION AND PROVIDE BETTER EVALUATION FOR FRACTURE CRITICAL AND FATIGUE PRONE COMPONENTS. FURTHER EFFORTS IN REGARD TO THIS REC., WILL INCLUDE FURTHER EVALUATION OF THE EFFORT TO REVISE THE AASHTO MANUAL, CONTINUED MONITORING OF RESEARCH OF LOAD EFFECTS, AND CONTINUED EVALUATION OF LOAD ENFORCEMENT POLICIES.