FHWA proposes debarment for FIU pedestrian bridge designer

Letter indicates suspension went into effect on July 14

August 03, 2020 / 2 minute read
FIU bridge

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently suspended and proposed to debar FIGG Bridge Engineers—the firm that designed the Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge—for a period of 10 years, according to correspondence from the U.S. DOT's Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The letter from U.S. DOT Acting Inspector General Howard R. "Skip" Elliott to lawmakers said the agency's decision was based on FIGG's conduct related to the FIU bridge collapse in Miami in March 2018 that caused the deaths of six people. The letter indicates FIGG's suspension went into effect on July 14. 

According to Construction Dive, FIGG has 30 days to contest FHWA's action, at which point it will be able to argue against debarment. If FIGG does not contest the action, then a Suspending and Debarring Official (SDO) will make a decision about debarment based on available information.

The letter from the OIG includes the agency's review of the firms involved with the FIU pedestrian bridge. Overall, OIG identified 41 firms that were involved in the design, construction, or inspection of the bridge. 

Additionally, the agency found that OSHA cited 17 of the 41 firms for workplace safety violations between January 2010 and January 2020. Five of those firms were also cited for safety violations related to the FIU bridge collapse. The letter also noted that as of April 2020, none of the 41 firms had been disqualified from receiving contracts involving federal funds or certain types of federal assistance.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) carried out an investigation into the cause of the FIU bridge collapse and issued its report in October 2019. In addition, OIG conducted two audits related to the FIU project in response to requests from the Secretary of Transportation and the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, according to the letter.

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SOURCE: U.S. DOT's Office of Inspector General / Construction Dive

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