Fallen Bridge: 'Stress Test' Performed Before Collapse That Killed 6

Kelvin Reese
March 17, 2018

A US senator demanded documents on Friday related to the construction of a new footbridge in Miami that collapsed a day earlier and killed at least six people, as federal and local investigators worked to determine the cause of the tragedy.

Rescue workers are combing through the rubble of a pedestrian bridge that collapsed onto several lanes of traffic at Florida International University, but hopes of finding more survivors are fading.

Miami-Dade police said a family reunification center has opened at FIU's main campus in Room 100 inside the Student Academic Success Center, which is located in front of the bookstore.

He says police can't release any information about the victims.

In a statement Thursday night, FDOT said it played a limited role.

"That bridge, what ever is left of it, is very, very unstable, so we have to be very careful as they're moving stuff", says Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. Authorities declined to estimate how many victims may still be trapped amid the broken concrete slabs.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt III said a team of specialists have started investigating the collapse.

Aerial view shows a pedestrian bridge collapsed at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

Scott added an investigation will get to the bottom of "why this happened and what happened", and that if anyone did anything wrong, "we will hold them accountable".

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Mallard said it could be days or weeks before the public hears anything from the contractor beyond the brief statement issued yesterday. Reports indicate that there are six fatalities as a result of the collapse. "This project accomplishes our mission beautifully", university president Mark B. Rosenberg is quoted as saying on the school's official Twitter account.

Amjad Aref, a researcher at University at Buffalo's Institute of Bridge Engineering, told the Miami Herald that stress testing normally involves placing carefully calibrated weights on the span and measuring how the structure responds to ensure it's within safe parameters.

The US$14.2 million bridge was created to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the most unsafe measure by the National Hurricane Center, and built to last 100 years, the university said.

Our hearts go out to the individuals and families that have been affected by this incident.

"I heard a "boom" like a bomb had exploded", he said.

But FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton (80-metric ton) section of a bridge it was building in Virginia crashed onto railroad tracks below, causing minor injuries to several workers.

Zugell said most of the bridges being replaced across the state are small spans in rural areas. Other funding agencies include the Federal Highway Administration, Florida Department of Transportation Local Agency Program, FIU and the City of Sweetwater.

The university had touted the bridge as a "first-of-its-kind" structure.

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