State to build new FIU pedestrian bridge where 6 were killed

Flawed bridge project collapsed in March 2018; FDOT says it ‘has learned valuable lessons’

Aerial shot of collapsed bridge at FIU from Miami-Dade Police Department's Crime Scene/Aviation Unit
Aerial shot of collapsed bridge at FIU from Miami-Dade Police Department's Crime Scene/Aviation Unit

MIAMI DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida’s Department of Transportation is prepared to resume the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University where the collapse of a previous bridge project killed six people two years ago.

The two-year design process will begin in 2021 for a new bridge over Eighth Street that will connect FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus to student housing and residential towers in Sweetwater, the department said Wednesday. Construction could then take two years.

FDOT says it “will manage and oversee all aspects of the project and the new plans incorporate additional enhanced safety measures, including the recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board.”

“FDOT has learned valuable lessons since the tragic events surrounding the FIU bridge collapse two years ago. The Department has worked closely with the NTSB and local partners to ensure proactive safety measures are included in the plans for this much-needed bridge,” transportation secretary Kevin J. Thibault said in a statement. “The Department will ensure all safety measures are in place and are followed so we may provide a safe option for pedestrians in this high-traffic area.”

A $14.2 million pedestrian bridge was supposed to open in 2019 as a safe way for students to cross the busy thoroughfare. But the structure crumbled to the ground on March 15, 2018, while traffic was stopped at a red light on Southwest Eighth Street.

One of the workers died in the collapse, and five people who were waiting in their idling cars were also killed as the 174-foot concrete span buckled in a split second.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that there were “failures at all levels” leading to the collapse, including flawed design plans from the construction firm hired by FIU and failed oversight by FDOT.

FDOT said it will coordinate with FIU regarding aesthetics for the bridge.

Local and state officials initially planned the bridge after an FIU student was struck and killed while crossing the road at SW 109 Avenue in June 2017.

About the Author: