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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-065
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 TRANSPORTATION: MODIFY BRIDGE INSPECTION PROCEDURES TO PROVIDE INSPECTORS WITH AVAILABLE BRIDGE DESIGN OR AS-BUILT PLANS DURING ON-SITE BRIDGE INSPECTIONS.
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: 7/1/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/1/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that in an e-mail dated April 19, 2004, Mr. Wayne Seger of your Bridge Inspection and Repair Office reported that half-size plans for TDOT-designed bridges are provided to inspection teams. He also stated that for bridges not designed by TDOT, the inspection teams prepare as-built drawings that are retained in their offices, with a copy sent to TDOT headquarters for evaluation. The intent of this recommendation was to ensure that bridge inspectors have the most accurate information possible during their inspections. The Safety Board believes that the procedures outlined by Mr. Seger accomplish this. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-90-65 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 4/19/2004
Response: Since the partial collapse of the US51 bridge over the Hatchie River in 1989, TDOT has been working to stay in compliance with NTSB recommendations that followed the tragedy. The particular recommendation of furnishing bridge inspectors with design plans was implemented shortly after the NTSB first published their findings and recommendations. On all bridges designed and let to contract by TDOT, a half size set of plans is sent to the regional bridge inspection office and in turn sent to the appropriate team's office for their use. On bridges not designed by TDOT, "as-built" plans are drawn by the inspection team and maintained in their office. A copy of the "as-built" drawings is sent to Headquarters for evaluator's use.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 4/13/2004
Response: The Safety Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure the public the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Could you please have someone call me at the number below or respond via email concerning what plans bridge inspectors are provided to aid in their inspections?

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 1/8/1993
Response: THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT IF BRIDGE DESIGN OR AS-BUILT PLANS HAD BEEN AVAILABLE TO THE TDOT INSPECTOR IN 1987, HE MIGHT HAVE DISCOVERED THAT HIS MEASUREMENT OF THE COLUMN 70 FOOTING WAS CONTRARY TO THE DESIGNED FOOTING DEPTH. IN THAT REGARD, WE WOULD APPRECIATE RECEIVING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON TDOT'S EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT INSPECTION TEAMS ARE PROVIDED WITH EITHER DESIGN PLANS OR AS-BUILT PLANS PRIOR TO INSPECTION. PENDING FURTHER RESPONSE, RECOMMENDATION H-90-65 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/1992
Response: TDOT'S PROCEDURE HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO PROVIDE DESIGN PLANS TO THE BRIDGE INSPECTION TEAMS, WHERE AVAILABLE. THE INSPECTION TEAMS DEVELOP AS-BUILT PLANS IN THE ABSENCE OF DESIGN PLANS THEREFORE, THEY ARE READILY AVAILABLE.

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