What we know about the FIU bridge collapse

There is plenty of finger-pointing, and cause might not be known for weeks

March 19, 2018
Bridge collapse
Bridge collapse

Five days after the deadly bridge collapse at Florida International University (FIU) there are still a lot of unknowns, but this is what we know:

The number of confirmed dead is six, and 10 people were injured;

There have been conflicting reports as to what was being done on the bridge prior to the collapse. A dashcam video shows there were workers on the bridge when it went down. There also was a crane that appeared to be attached to the bridge in some capacity. Sen. Marco Rubio was at the site the morning of the collapse and said a crew was there doing post-tensioning. Several media outlets have reported that a stress test also was conducted before the fall, but police cannot confirm this. To see the dashcam video, click here;

Florida DOT was responsible for issuing permits for traffic control, but the agency says it was up to FIU to make the call and close Southwest 8th Street to traffic. Why the road was not at least partially closed to traffic is unknown;

Cracks were discovered two days before the collapse, but the designer, FIGG Bridge Engineers, believed the cracks did not pose a safety risk. There was a meeting with the contractor, MCM, and FIGG, FIU and FDOT, and those in attendance were told there would be no risk to the traveling public;

Due to the unique characteristics of the design of the bridge, an independent, secondary design check was required. FIU was responsible for selecting a designer, and the university went with someone that was not on FDOT’s pre-qualified list;

MCM, the prime contractor of the bridge, has been cited for several safety issues in the past, and also is a well-known financial contributor to local politicians;

NTSB is currently on the scene conducting its investigation, which consists of taking samples and conducting interviews. The cause of the collapse may not be known for weeks; and

At this time FIU is not responding to interview requests by Roads & Bridges magazine.