The pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida, leaving at least 6 dead, was designed to make students safer

Joe Raedle / Getty ImagesThe bridge was set to be used by 2019.

  • A bridge at Florida International University’s campus collapsed Thursday, trapping people in the rubble and resulting in multiple injuries and deaths.
  • The 950-ton bridge, which was supposed to be ready for use in 2019, was designed to make it safer for students to travel between FIU’s campus and Streetwater, a city where about 4,000 students live.
  • The bridge was installed in a single day on Saturday using a method that was supposed to increase safety for workers, pedestrians, and drivers.

A bridge on Florida International University’s campus collapsed Thursday, trapping people in the rubble and resulting in at least six deaths and nine injuries.

The 950-ton bridge was designed to make it safer for students to travel between FIU’s campus and Streetwater, a city in Miami-Dade County where about 4,000 students live. According to The Miami Herald, students and faculty had asked for a bridge that would span the seven-lane road where a student was killed by a motorist in August.

At least one FIU student died in the collapse, Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said at a press conference Friday.

The bridge was installed in a single day on Saturday after the 174-foot span and support towers were built over several months. The rapid installation method was supposed to increase safety for workers, pedestrians, and drivers.

The bridge was scheduled to be used in 2019 and was part of a $US14.2 million project, paid for by the US Department of Transportation, also featuring footpaths, a plaza, benches, tables, and Wi-Fi.

Before and after the bridge was installed, MCM Construction, which built the bridge with FIGG Bridge Design, retweeted posts on its Twitter account that alluded to how the bridge and its installation were designed with student safety in mind.

“Student #SafetyFirst !!” one tweet said after the bridge was installed.

The company later released a statement about the collapse on Twitter.

“Our family’s thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” the company wrote. “The new UniversityCity Bridge, which was under construction, experienced a catastrophic collapse causing injuries and loss of life. MCM is a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist. We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on scene in every way.”

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a 15-member “go team” to investigate the collapse. NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters on Friday that his team will likely stay five to seven days and determine both how the bridge collapsed and how the incident could have been prevented.

“Our entire purpose for being here is to find out what happened so that we can keep it from happening again,” he said.

Michelle Mark contributed reporting.

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