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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-90-071
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: OBTAIN WEIGHT PER AXLE AND AXLE SPACING INFORMTION FOR OVERWEIGHT VEHICLES WEHN ISSUING OVERWEIGHT PERMITS.
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 a September 14, 1992, response to the Board, TDOT reported that State law required overweight permits for any vehicles over 80,000 pounds, and weight-per-axle information on vehicles over 200,000 pounds. It was also noted that the maximum weight per axle was 20,000 pounds for all overweight loads, but axle-spacing information was not required for vehicles under 200,000 pounds. TDOT further reported that it had initiated a study to evaluate the need for axle spacing on overweight vehicles under 200,000 pounds. In a recent review of the TDOT Web site concerning overweight permits, Safety Board staff noted that axle-spacing information is now required for all overweight vehicles. The intent of Safety Recommendation H-90-71 was to ensure that permit reviewers have adequate information to prevent overloading roadways and structures along a proposed route. Requiring axle-spacing information and mandating a maximum allowable axle loading for all overweight vehicles accomplish this. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-90-71 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 1/8/1993
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTANDS THAT THE TDOT'S PERMIT POLICY REQUIRES OVERWEIGHT PERMITS FOR VEHICULAR LOADS IN EXCESS OF 80,000 POUNDS. PERMITS FOR VEHICLES BETWEEN 80,000 POUNDS & 149,999 POUNDS DO NOT STATE THE AXLE SPACINGS, BUT PERMITS FOR VEHICLES IN EXCESS OF 150,000 POUNDS DO. HOWEVER, THE TDOT HAS INITIATED A STUDY THAT INCLUDES AXLE SPACING FOR VEHICLES BETWEEN 80,000 & 149,999 POUNDS. PENDING OUR RECEIPT OF THE RESULTS OF THAT STUDY, RECOMMENDATION H-90-71 WILL BE CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/14/1992
Response: TDOT'S PERMIT POLICY AS AUTHORIZED BY STATE LAW REQUIRES OVERWEIGHT PERMITS FOR VEHICULAR LOADS IN EXCESS OF 80,000 LBS. AND RESTRICTS AXLE WEIGHTS TO 20,000 LBS. PER AXLE. THE PERMIT REQUESTS ARE PROCESSED IN 2 CATEGORIES: FOR PERMIT REQUESTS IN THE RANGE OF 80,000 LBS. TO 149,999 LBS., THE PERMIT STATES THE GROSS WEIGHT, THE NUMBER OF AXLES REQUIRED BASED ON THE 20,000 LBS. RESTRICTION, BUT DOES NOT REQUIRE AXLE SPACINGS. PERMIT REQUESTS OF 150,000 LBS OR GREATER ARE SENT TO THE BRIDGE DIVISION AND AXLE SPACINGS ARE REQUIRED. THE TDOT HAS INITIATED A STUDY FOR CATEGORY 1 TO INCLUDE THE AXLE SPACING REQUIREMENTS.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 9/12/1992
Response: