NTSB investigative update indicates design errors were made on FIU bridge

The findings were the result of an FHWA Office of Bridges and Structures evaluation of the bridge design and construction

November 16, 2018
NTSB FIU bridge investigation November update

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this week released an investigative update on the collapse of the Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge in Sweetwater, Fla., revealing significant errors made in the design of the bridge that collapsed and killed six people back in March.

Since the first NTSB investigative update was issued back in August, new information has developed on the bridge design, and additional forensic examination and evaluation of the structural bridge components has been completed. The August update revealed large cracking that appeared in the section of the span that was believed to have failed when the structure collapsed.

In their most recent update, the NTSB disclosed that the FHWA Office of Bridges and Structures are supporting the investigation by providing resources to evaluate the bridge design and construction. The FHWA evaluations included an assessment of the available design calculations and construction plans to determine if they were done in conformance to the appropriate design and constructions specifications. 

The NTSB report says that though the evaluation is ongoing, the assessment has determined that errors were made in the design of the northernmost nodal region of the 174-ft-long span, where two truss members were connected to the bridge deck. The report determines that the design errors resulted in the overestimation of the capacity of a critical section through the node comprised of diagonal member 11 and vertical member 12, and apparent underestimation of the demand on that same critical section. What's more, the evaluation determined that the cracking observed in the node prior to the collapse is consistent with the identified errors.

FIU released a statement after the release of the NTSB investigative update. “At FIU, we continue to fully cooperate with the NTSB so that it may finish its investigation and complete a final report and safety recommendations," Kenneth Jessell, senior vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer at FIU, said in the statement. "We hope the results of the investigation will help bring closure to the families and loved ones of the victims.”

Related Articles

North Carolina DOT conducting research on demolished Bonner Bridge
Image: North Carolina DOT
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is partnering with North Carolina State University (NCSU) on a research project related to…
September 16, 2021
New pedestrian bridge construction to begin over I-294 in Illinois
Image: Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway this week will begin work on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Pedestrian Bridge project in Hinsdale and Western Springs.…
September 09, 2021
Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge replacement in D.C. to open ahead of schedule
Image: District DOT
The new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington D.C. will reportedly open a month ahead of schedule in early September 2021. According to a…
August 19, 2021
Missouri DOT selects design-build contractor for new I-70 Rocheport Bridge
Image: Missouri DOT
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission recently announced the selection of the design-build contractor to replace the I-70 Missouri…
July 16, 2021
expand_less