Florida Bridge Collapsed, Kills At Least Six

Photo via WCTV

On Saturday, the Florida International University said that engineers and university and state officials met hours before the collapse of a newly-built pedestrian bridge, which killed six people. However, they concluded that a crack in the bridge was not a concern on safety, Florida International University said on Saturday.

The two-hour meeting that occurred last Thursday involved FIGG, the private contractor for the overall design of the bridge, together with the school, officials of the Florida Department of Transportation, and Munilla Construction Management (MCM) which installed the bridge.

In a statement that was released on Saturday, FIU said: an engineer of the FIGG “concluded there were no safety concerns and the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge.”

Approximately three hours after the meeting was concluded, $14.2 million the 950-ton bridge collapsed, crushing the vehicles that were stopped at a traffic light on the eight-lane roadway that was located below. As of writing, at least six people, including three whose bodies, were recovered last Saturday, were killed. Police said, however, that four vehicles are believed to still be under the collapsed bridge, and more bodies may possibly be found from the rubble.

The news of the meeting followed a revelation late last Friday that the engineer who was overseeing the bridge, which associated the FIU campus with the city of Sweetwater, had called an official of the state two days prior to the collapse to report cracks.

However, according to the state transportation agency, the voicemail message from Denney Pate, the lead engineer of FIGG, including his declaration that the cracking posed no issues on safety, was not retrieved until Friday, a day following the tragedy.

Pate did not immediately reply to email queries from Reuters.

In the message, Pate said that his team had observed “some cracking” at one of the ends of the bridge and that repairs were assured, “but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there, so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective.”

He continued: “Obviously the cracking is not good, and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that.”