The FIU Bridge Collapse: Who Knew What Beforehand?
The tragedy that occurred with the Florida International University bridge collapse has been all over the news, especially as emergency crews recovered the last two of the total six victims killed on Sunday, March 18th, one of which included a married father of three. The bridge broke into pieces and came crashing down on the cars stopped underneath it at a traffic light on Thursday, March 15th. Concerned families were thus left waiting to hear about their loved ones for three days.
Thus far, a total of eight cars were reportedly trapped under the bridge when it fell. The accident is now being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Although a cause has yet to be identified, officials reported that an engineer had provided warning to the Florida Department of Transportation two days before the collapse, indicating that cracks had been found at one end. It is also unclear what the builders were using as temporary supports when the bridge collapsed, as the main tower itself had not yet been installed.
Construction Firms with a History
The bridge was supposed to be completed in 2019, and serve as a safe passageway for people walking from the university to Sweetwater, but ended up opening early last week instead. According to Fox News, the two firms responsible for building the bridge—Figg Bridge Design and MCM Construction—have experienced engineering failures and inspection fines in the past. They have also been accused of hiring “careless, unskilled workers.”
University & Transportation Department Involvement
According to reporting from the Miami Herald, the University knew about the cracks on the bridge as well. In fact, hours before it collapsed onto traffic, the school met with engineers and the Department of Transportation to discuss whether the cracks posed a safety risk. According to this same reporting, the engineer who initially reported the cracks indicated that he did not think they posed a safety issue. However, according to the University President, crews had also been performing stress tests on the bridge right before the collapse in order to test the resiliency of the concrete, an act that could have contributed to the accident.
Many are now trying to distance themselves from the project. For example, the Transportation Department announced that its involvement was limited to providing traffic-control permits and authorizing the University to use the space above the state road. Meanwhile, the University has indicated that the Department was heavily involved every step of the way.
Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered at a construction site accident like this, you are likely facing a lifetime of medical costs, and possibly even lost wages; not to mention the potential wrongful death of your loved one. Contact our experienced Boca Raton attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help you ensure that justice is done.