Collapse of newly installed Florida bridge kills four

March 18, 2018 – A bridge span that was installed only a few days ago has collapsed onto a Miami highway, killing at least four people.

The structure collapsed onto the busy road, crushing at least eight vehicles. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has leading the rescue efforts. A local medical centre received 10 patients, including two whose conditions are critical.

The 852t main span had been lifted, rotated and lowered into place in just a few hours last weekend across the eight-lane Southwest Eight Street at Florida International University (FIU). Construction of the bridge began in the spring of 2017 and it was due for completion in early 2019. When finished, the US$14.2m cable-supported bridge would have been 88m long and 33m tall, including its tower.

The 53m section of the FIU-Sweetwater University City Bridge was installed using accelerated bridge construction (ABC) methods, which are being advanced at the university’s Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center (ABC-UTC).

The bridge was designed by Figg Bridge Engineers and was being built by MCM. Barnhart Crane & Rigging operated the self-propelled modular transporters that placed the bridge on its permanent supports. The university said that that the structure was the largest pedestrian bridge in US history to have been moved using self-propelled modular transporters and that it was the world’s first to have been constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete. When exposed to sunlight, titanium dioxide in the concrete captures pollutants and turns it bright white.

A statement from Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) stressed that the bridge was a local agency project, not one of its own schemes. It said that it is currently offering expertise and all necessary resources to local and federal partners and will proactively release all state records related to this project as soon as possible.

It said that, under the terms of the procurement issued by FIU and due to the unique characteristics of the design of the bridge, an independent, secondary design check was required. The statement said: “Under this project, it is the responsibility of FIU’s design build team to select the firm used to conduct the independent, secondary review. The firm selected, Louis Berger, was not FDOT pre-qualified for this service, which is required under FIU’s agreement with the state. FIU’s design build team is responsible for selecting a pre-qualified firm and ensuring this process is followed.”



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