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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-066
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: EXPAND TDOT BRIDGE INSPECTION CRITERIA TO REQUIRE THAT SUBMERGED BRIDGE ELEMENTS THAT CANNOT BE FULLY EXAMINED BY BRIDGE INSPECTORS DURING SCHEDULED INSPECTIONS RECEIVE FOLLOW-UP OR DIVER 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: 1/8/1993
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: 1/8/1993
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT TDOT HAS CHANGED ITS UNDERWATER BRIDGE INSPECTION PROGRAM CRITERIA TO REQUIRE THAT BRIDGE ELEMENTS THAT ARE SUBMERGED IN WATER THAT IS AT LEAST 3.5 FEET DEEP BE INSPECTED BY A DIVER. FURTHERMORE, THE TDOT BELIEVES THAT ELEMENTS THAT ARE SUBMERGED IN WATER LESS THAN 3.5 FEET DEEP CAN BE VISUALLY INSPECTED BY TOUCH AND/OR PROBING, & A BRIDGE INSPECTOR CAN RECOMMEND AN UNDERWATER INSPECTION OF SUBMERGED ELEMENTS THAT CANNOT BE FULLY EXAMINED. RECOMMENDATION H-90-66 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/1992
Response: TDOT'S CURRENT UNDERWATER BRIDGE INSPECTION CRITERIA REQUIRES THAT SUBMERGED BRIDGE ELEMENT IN 3.5' OR GREATER DEPTH OF WATER BE INSPECTED BY A DIVER. TDOT BELIEVES THAT SUBMERGED ELEMENTS IN LESS THAN 3.5' OF WATER CAN BE VISUALLY INSPECTED OR ADEQUATELY INSPECTED BY TOUCH AND/OR PROBING. HOWEVER, THERE IS A PROCEDURE WHEREBY THE BRIDGE INSPECTOR CAN RECOMMEND U/W INSPECTION BY A DIVER FOR ANY BRIDGE SITE WHERE SUBMERGED ELEMENTS CANNOT BE FULLY EXAMINED TO THE INSPECTOR'S SATISFACTION.

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