Bridge Collapses in Florida

Jake Amato, Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 15, an unfinished pedestrian footbridge collapsed, killing six people. The bridge was inspected two days before the disaster, and according to USA Today, “An engineer from the firm that designed the walkway left a voicemail with state transportation officials warning of cracks in the structure.” Unfortunately, the voicemail was not picked up until after the bridge had actually collapsed. Authorities have still not been able to determine for sure if the cracking had anything to do with the bridge actually collapsing. The bridge was on schedule to open in 2019 and cost about $14.2 million to build. It had been taken off its temporary stands and put into place on March 10th, five days before it collapsed.

The bridge was being built to allow students to cross the busy highway and make it to their Florida International University campus safely. Being built using a new method called “instant bridge,” the bridge had been over budget and behind schedule due to new designs to move one of the support towers. As stated by CBS news, “The Florida Department of Transportation in October 2016 ordered Florida International University (FIU) and its contractors to move one of the bridge’s main support structures 11 feet north to the edge of a canal, widening the gap between the crossing’s end supports and requiring some new structural design.” One of the towers holding the bridge up was moved from its original position, making the gap much bigger between the supports; this may have led to the collapse. This larger gap between the support towers may have also caused the cracking that one of the engineers flagged two days before the actual collapse. Investigations are still being done to determine the definite cause of the collapse.

This horrible event managed to kill six innocent people who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. While it seems that this tragedy could have been avoided if the cracking that was noticed in the structure had been taken care of and investigated right away, there is no way to know for sure until the investigation is complete.