U.S. DOT secretary seeks probe of fatal Florida bridge collapse

March 21, 2018

Secretary Chao has asked for an audit to determine if requirements to receive federal funding for the project were met

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asked the inspector general of her department to probe whether a federally funded pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six in Florida complied with all rules, her office said on Tuesday.

Chao said in a letter she has asked for an audit to determine if the bridge owner and the design-build team had followed requirements as a condition of receiving federal funding.

The 950-ton, $16.6 million pedestrian bridge, which crossed an eight-lane highway adjacent to Florida International University (FIU) to link the campus with the city of Sweetwater, collapsed on Thursday, crushing vehicles in traffic below.

On Monday, Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered the Florida Department of Transportation to indefinitely suspend the payment of all remaining federal funding for the collapsed pedestrian bridge, pending the completion of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation. The project was awarded $13.6 million in federal funding.

Engineers and state and university officials met hours before the new pedestrian bridge collapsed, but concluded a crack in the structure was not a safety concern, the university said earlier. The bridge collapsed and crushed multiple vehicles stopped at a traffic light about three hours after the meeting.


Source: Reuters via The New York Times