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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-064
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 TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANS PORTATION: MODIFY TDOT BRIDGE RATING CRITERIA TO REMOVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT A STRUCTURE SHOW SOME SETTLEMENT OR LEANING BEFORE IT IS RATED CRITICAL.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
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: 1/8/1993
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 1/8/1993
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT THE TDOT'S BRIDGE INSPECTION GUIDELINES HAVE NEVER REQUIRED THAT A STRUCTURE SHOW SOME SETTLEMENT OR LEANING BEFORE IT IS RATED CRITICAL. CONSEQUENTLY, THE RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "CLOSED--RECONSIDERED."

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/1992
Response: WE BELIEVE THAT THIS RECOMMENDATION RESULTED FROM TESTIMONY PROVIDED BY JIM AKIN. MR. AKIN'S TESTIMONY PROVIDED EXAMPLES OF WHEN BENT 70 WOULD HAVE BEEN RATED CRITICAL DUE TO UNDERMINING. MR. AKIN WAS IS NO WAY EXPRESSING THE TDOT'S POLICY OR GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINING A BRIDGE ELEMENT CONDITION RATING OF CRITICAL. TDOT'S BRIDGE INSPECTION GUIDELINES HAVE NEVER INCLUDED THE REQUIREMENT THAT STRUCTURE SHOW SOME SETTLEMENT OR LEANING BEFORE IT IS RATED CRITICAL.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 6/12/1992
Response: