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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-88-018
Details
Synopsis: ON APRIL 5, 1987, TWO SPANS OF A 540-FOOT-LONG NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY (I-90) BRIDGE OVER THE SCHOHARIE CREEK FELL ABOUT 80 FEET INTO THE RAIN-SWOLLEN CREEK AFTER PIER 3, WHICH PARTIALLY SUPPORTED THE SPANS, COLLAPSED. NINETY MINUTES AFTER THE INITIAL COLLAPSE, PIER 2 AND A THIRD SPAN COLLAPSED. FOUR PASSENGER CARS AND ONE TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER PLUNGED INTO THE CREEK, AND 10 PERSONS WERE FATALLY INJURED. WATER LEVELS IN THE CREEK HAD BEEN RISING SINCE THE AFTER NOON OF APRIL 4 AND THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAD ISSUED WARNINGS OF FLOODING IN THE LOW-LYING AREAS ADJACENT TO THE CREEK.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: REQUIRE ALL STATES THAT HAVE NOT DONE SO WITHIN THE LAST YEAR TO CONDUCT UNDERWATER INSPECTIONS OF ALL THEIR BRIDGES FOUNDED ON SPREAD FOOTINGS FOR EVIDENCE OF SCOUR (SUCH AS MOVEMENT OF RIPRAP, DEVELOPMENT OF SCOUR HOLES IN THE STREAMBED, AND CHANGES IN THE STREAMBED MATERIAL COMPOSITION), PLACING PRIORITY ON THOSE BRIDGES WITH NONREDUNDANT DESIGNS. (URGENT)
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Amsterdam, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA87MH005
Accident Reports: Collapse of New York Thruway (I-90) Bridge over the Schoharie Creek
Report #: HAR-88-02
Accident Date: 4/5/1987
Issue Date: 6/8/1988
Date Closed: 1/22/1998
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 1/22/1998
Response: THE BOARD UNDERSTAND THAT ALL STATES HAVE CONDUCTED THE NECESSARY INSPECTIONS. BASED ON THIS INFO, H-88-18 HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 10/7/1997
Response: The Safety Board is pleased to learn that 22,224 bridges (99.9 percent) on the States’ master lists have been inspected as a direct result of the December 1988 FHWA requirement to determine scour-critical bridges. The one State that has not completed 100 percent of its underwater inspections has approved plans for doing so. Therefore, Safety Recommendation H-88-18 has been classified “Closed--Acceptable Action.”

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/5/1997
Response: THE REVISED "RECORDING & CODING GUIDE" ISSUED DECEMBER 1988, REQUIRES THAT ALL BRIGDES BE ASSESSED TO DETRMINE IF THEY ARE SCOUR CRITICAL (ITEM 113). TO EMPHASIZE THIS REQUIREMENT, THE FHWA ESTABLISHED A BIANNUAL STATUS REPORT IN FEBRUARY 1990, TO MONITOR THE STATUS OF UNDERWATER INSPECTIONS & BRIDGE SCOUR CRITICAL DETERMINATION. THE APRIL STATUS REPORT INDICATED THAT ALL BUT ONE OF 22,248 BRIDGES ON STATES' MASTER LISTS HAD RECEIVED AN INITIAL INSPECTION. ON 5/23/97, THE FHWA WAS NOTIFIED THAT THE FINAL BRIDGE HAD BEEN INSPECTED.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/27/1997
Response: The revised "Recording and Coding Guide" issued December, 1988, requires that all bridges be assessed to determine if they are scour critical (Item 113). To emphasize this requirement. the FHWA established a biannual status report in Februay, 1990, to monitor the status of undervater inspections and bridge scour critical determinations. The April 1996 status report indicates that 22,224 (99.9%) of 22,248 bridges on States' master lists have received an initial inspection. Only one State is less than 100% complete and this State has approved plans for completing the inspections.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 6/21/1993
Response: THE BOARD NOTES THAT AS OF NOVEMBER 1992 ALL BRIDGES HAD BEEN EVALUATED AND AT LEAST 94 PERCENT OF ALL APPLICABLE BRIDGES HAD RECEIVED AN UNDERWATER INSPECTION. UNTIL THE REMAINING INSPECTIONS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED, RECOMMENDATION H-88-18 WILL REMAIN "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/19/1993
Response: A STATUS REPORT AS OF NOVEMBER 1992 INDICATES THAT ALL BRIDGES HAVE BEEN EVALUATED AND MOST BRIDGES HAVE RECEIVED AN INITIAL UNDERWATER INSPECTION. THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 22, 154 BRIDGES ON THE STATES' MASTER LISTS. ABOUT 94 PERCENT OR 20, 894 BRIDGES HAVE RECEIVED AN INITIAL INSPECTION. ONLY SEVEN STATES ARE LESS THAN 99 PERCENT COMPLETE AND THOSE STATES HAVE APPROVED PLANS FOR COMPLETING THE INSPECTIONS.

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 12/2/1991
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/22/1991
Response: THE REVISED "RECORDING AND CODING GUIDE" ISSUED DECEMBER, 1988, REQUIRES THAT ALL BRIDGES BE ASSESSED TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE SCOUR CRITICAL (ITEM113). FHWA WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR STATE PROGRESS TOWARDS COMPLETING BOTH SCREENING THAT OUR FIELD OFFICES WORK WITH STATES THAT WILL NOT COMPLETE THIS EFFORTS BY MARCH 31 TO DEVELOP PLANS FOR TIMELY COMPLETION.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/10/1990
Response:

From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 11/21/1990
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/9/1989
Response: DETAILED GUIDANCE FOR IMPLEMENTING THESE CHANGES IS CONTAINED IN TECHNICAL ADVISORY T5140.21 DATED 9/16/88, ON THE SUBJECT OF "REVISIONS TO THE NATIONAL BRIDGE INSPECTION STANDARDS (NBIS). THIS ADVISORY PLACES EMPHASIS ON INSPECTING BRIDGES FOR SCOUR & FOR CAREFUL DOCUMENTATION OF INSPECTING BRIDGES FOR SCOUR & FOR TRAINING OF BRIDGE INSPECTORS IN THE ABOVE NOTED AREAS. THE FHWA HAS ADVISED THAT EVERY STATE SHOULD HAVE ITS UNDERWATER INSPECTION PROGRAM CLEARLY DEFINED & UNDERWAY FOR BRIDGES BOTH UNDER THE DIRECT CONTROL OF STATE HIGHWAY AGENCIES & FOR BRIDGES UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF OTHER ENTITIES.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/17/1988
Response: IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SCHOHARIE CREEK, NY THRUWAY BRIDGE COLLAPSE, THE FHWA SENT GUIDANCE (4/17/87) TO ALL STATES THROUGH ORGANIZATIONAL CHANNELS THAT THE SCOUR POTENTIAL & RISK FOR ALL EXISTING BRIDGES WITH CHARACTERISTICS SIMILAR TO THE NY THRUWAY BRIDGE SHOULD BE EVALUATED ASAP.