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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation I-77-001
Details
Synopsis: ABOUT 11:08 A.M., ON MAY 11, 1976, A TRANSPORT COMPANY OF TEXAS TRACTOR-SEMITRAILER (TANK) TRANSPORTING 7,509 GALLONS OF ANHYDROUS AMMONIA STRUCK AND THEN PENETRATED A BRIDGE RAIL ON A RAMP CONNECTING I-610 WITH THE SOUTHWEST FREEWAY (U.S. 59) IN HOUSTON, TEXAS. THE TRACTOR AND TRAILER THEN STRUCK A SUPPORT COLUMN OF AN OVERPASS AND FELL ONTO THE SOUTHWEST FREEWAY, APPROXIMATELY 15 FEET BELOW. THE ANHYDROUS AMMONIA WAS RELEASED FROM THE DAMAGED TANK SEMITRAILER. SIX PERSONS DIED AS A RESULT OF THE CRASH, 78 PERSONS WERE HOSPITALIZED, AND APPROXIMATELY 100 PERSONS WERE TREATED FOR INJURIES BUT WERE NOT HOSPITALIZED. FIVE OF THE DEATHS AND ALL OF THE INJURIES WERE A RESULT OF THE INHALATION OF THE AMMONIA.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION: DEVELOP GUIDELINES FOR LOCAL AND STATE AGENCIES TO USE IN DESIGNATING AND PERIODICALLY REVIEWING ROUTES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AS A MEANS OF REDUCING INJURY AND DAMAGE FROM ACCIDENTS INVOLVING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS IN THEIR JURISDICTIONS.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Intermodal
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA76H050
Accident Reports: Transport Company of Texas, Tractor Semitrailer (Tank) Collision with Bridge Column and Sudden Dispersal of Anhydrous Ammonia Cargo
Report #: HAR-77-01
Accident Date: 5/11/1976
Issue Date: 4/25/1977
Date Closed: 4/8/1983
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FHWA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FHWA
Date: 4/8/1983
Response:

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/1/1980
Response: FHWA R&D REPORT: "DEVELOPMENT OF CRITERIA TO DESIGNATE ROUTES FOR TRANSPORTING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS." FHWA IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE: "GUIDELINES FOR APPLYING CRITERIA TO DESIGNATE ROUTES FOR TRANSPORTING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS." FHWA BULLETIN, APRIL 10, 1981, DISTRIBUTING THE IMPLEMEN TATION PACKAGE. THE NTSB RECEIVED COPIES OF THESE DOCUMENTS IN 1983. NTSB HAS DETERMINED THAT THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PACKAGE TO THE FHWA REGIONS AND DIVISIONS FOR USE IN WORKING WITH THE STATES IS ACCEPTABLE IN FULFILLING THIS RECOMMENDATION.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/8/1978
Response: FHWA LTR: TRANSMITTED COPY OF MTB INCONSISTENCY RULING NO. 1 FROM NEW YORK CITY HEARING. RULING FOUND FEDERAL PREEMPTION OVER LOCAL LAWS NOT TO BE ASSERTED, HOWEVER, DECISION QUESTIONS PRUDENCE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ROUTINGS OR TRAFFIC DIVERSIONS MADE SOLELY BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES. MTB WILL INITIATE RULEMAKING ACTION WITHIN 60 DAYS ON THIS MATTER. FHWA WILL COOPERATE WITH MTB AND WILL EXPLORE POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OF GUIDELINES IN RELATIONSHIP TO NATIONAL PROBLEM.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/25/1978
Response: FHWA LETTER: THIS LETTER IS A RESTATEMENT OF THE FHWA POSITION AS STATED IN THEIR 11/10/77 RESPONSE. THE FHWA DOES NOT WANT TO ACT ON THIS RECOMMENDATION UNTIL THE NEW YORK CITY HEARINGS PRODUCE SOME RESULTS. A FURTHER REPORT IS PROMISED WITHIN 90 DAYS.

From: FHWA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/10/1977
Response: FHWA LETTER: DISCUSSES 49 CFR 397-9 REQUIRING MOTOR CARRIERS TO AVOID HEAVILY POPULATED AREAS, TUNNELS, NARROW STREETS, ETC. WHEN TRANSPORTING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. COPY ENCLOSED OF "A SUMMARY OF HIGHWAY FACILITIES WHERE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ARE RESTRICTED." DISCUSSES COMPLICATIONS FROM NEW YORK CITY CASE IN WHICH THE CITY WILL NOT ALLOW RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL TO BE TRANSPORTED THROUGH THE CITY.