Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-061
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 AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS: MODIFY SECTION 1.3.2, "HYDRAULIC STUDIES" OF THE STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS FOR HIGHWAY BRIDGES TO INCLUDE EVALUATIONS OF GEOMORPHIC CHANGES IN STREAMS CAUSED BY THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW BRIDGE AND THE EFFECTS OF THOSE CHANGES ON EXISTING STRUCTURES.
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: 5/12/1992
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Date: 5/12/1992
Response:

From: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
To: NTSB
Date: 1/2/1992
Response: RECOMMENDATION H-90-61 WAS REFERRED TO THE HIGHWAY SUBCOMMITTEE ON BRIDGES AND STRUCTURES WHICH HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS FOR HIGHWAY BRIDGES. BASED UPON THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF ITS TECHNICAL COMMITTEE FOR LOADS AND LOAD DISTRIBUTION, CHANGES TO SECTIONS 1.3.2.1 AND 1.3.2.3 WERE MADE. THE CHANGES WERE APPROVED THROUGH ACTION BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE.

From: NTSB
To: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Date: 8/28/1990
Response:

From: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
To: NTSB
Date: 7/27/1990
Response: THESE HAVE BEEN FORWARDED TO THE APPROPRIATE MEMBERS OF THE AASHTO HIGHWAY SUBCOMMITTEE ON BRIDGES AND STRUCTURES FOR CONSIDERATION AND DISPOSITION. YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN KNOWING THAT THE AASHTO PUBLICATION, MAINTENANCE INSPECTION OF BRIDGES, TO WHICH RECOMMENDATIONS H-90-62 AND -63 ARE DIRECTED AS WELL AS AN EARLIER RECOMMENDATION H-89-72 MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER, IS IN THE PROCESS OF BEING SUBSTANTIALLY OVERHAULED AND REWRITTEN UNDER NCHRP 12-23.