Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-88-022
Details
Synopsis: ON APRIL 5, 1987, TWO OF THE FIVE SPANS OF THE NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY (I-90) BRIDGE OVER THE SCHOHARIE CREEK FELL ABOUT 80 FEET INTO A RAIN-SWOLLEN CREEK AFTER PIER 3, WHICH PARTIALLY SUPPORTED THE TWO 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.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: MODIFY THE GUIDANCE PROVIDED IN THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE GUIDELINES TO REQUIRE THAT, FOLLOWING EACH INSPECTION OF BRIDGES THAT ARE DEPENDENT UPON RIPRAP FOR SCOUR PROTECTION, THE RIPRAP BE REPLENISHED TO MEET THE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS, AND REMOVE THE SENTENCE IN SECTION 4.4.5.2 OF THE GUIDELINES, WHICH STATES, "REPAIRS SHOULD BE MADE, USING HEAVY STONE FILL OR RIPRAP BEFORE SCOUR PROGRESSES TO A DEPTH DANGEROUS TO THE STABILITY OF A STRUCTURE (1/2 OF THE THICKNESS OF PIER FOOTING)."
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: 5/17/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of New York, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Stability

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of New York, Department of Transportation
Date: 5/17/2002
Response: Thank you for the NYDOT memoranda addressing this recommendation that Mr. Guinan enclosed with his letter. The revised NYDOT guidelines, Section 4.4.5.2, state that channels should be cleaned a minimum of twice a year in the vicinity of bridges susceptible to scour and repairs should be made, using heavy stone fill or riprap, before scour progresses to a depth dangerous to the stability of a structure, as recommended. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-88-22 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of New York, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 2/7/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/28/2002 12:44:18 PM MC# 2020218 Please find attached copies of two Department memorandums dated September 20, 1990 and November 7, 1990, which address the recommendations made in H-88-22.

From: NTSB
To: State of New York, Department of Transportation
Date: 4/2/2001
Response: On October 12, 1998, based on information provided by the NYDOT in a letter dated August 26, 1988, Safety Recommendation H-88-22 was classified "Open--Acceptable Response" pending further response. The NYDOT had indicated that highway maintenance guidelines were being modified and that the Safety Board would be provided copies once that project was completed. To date, the Safety Board has received no further response from the NYDOT on this recommendation. We would appreciate being informed if, in fact, modifications to the guidelines were completed so that we can close this recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: State of New York, Department of Transportation
Date: 10/12/1988
Response:

From: State of New York, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/26/1988
Response: WITH REGARD TO THE BOARD'S SAFETY RECOMMENDATION H-88-22 DIRECTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, IT IS BEING IMPLEMENTED AS PRESENTED. SPECIFICALLY, THE DEPT'S "HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE GUIDELINES" ARE BEING AMENDED ACCORDINGLY. COPIES OF THE MODIFIED GUIDELINES WILL BE FORWARDED IN THE NEAR FUTURE.