Report says engineer at fault in Florida bridge collapse

A new pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed last year after an inspection by engineers who failed to note the risk of such an event and order it closed, according to a report prepared by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The bridge collapsed on March 15, 2018. Five people stopped at a traffic light, who were waiting under the bridge, were killed, as was a construction worker.

The investigation showed that on the morning of the collapse, the project engineer and other professionals who were part of the project met after they evaluated cracks that had appeared. The construction engineer and an inspector told the project engineer they noticed cracks were getting longer, but the engineer said in the meeting the cracks didn’t present any safety concerns, according to the OSHA report.

The report said the bridge had “numerous wide and deep structural cracks” that put the bridge at risk, the report added. It further said the engineer should have ordered the bridge be repaired and the street below it closed immediately.

The cracks were caused by deficient structural design, the report said.

The bridge was intended to give university students a safe way to walk to classes from a nearby residential neighborhood, allowing them to stay off of congested neighborhood streets.

The engineering group that oversaw the project said the report wasn’t accurate.

“It does not include an evaluation of many important factors pertinent to the construction process leading up to the accident,” the statement read. “Additionally, it has not been reviewed by any other entities involved in the accident investigation,” the statement said. “At the appropriate time the facts and the truth will be released to the public.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating as well.

The collapse of the bridge was avoidable and due to human error, according to the OSHA report. Anytime a construction-related accident is the result of someone else’s negligence, survivors or families of victims should consult with an attorney to learn their rights.


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