FIU bridge collapse: Project leader called FDOT about ‘cracking’ seen on bridge

Top News

The Florida Department of Transportation released a transcript of a voicemail left by the lead engineer on the FIU pedestrian bridge project noting “cracking” seen on the bridge two days before it collapsed onto SW 8th Street in Miami.PREVIOUS STORIES:FIU bridge collapse rescue now a recovery operation (March 16, 2018)Officials: 4 dead at site of FIU bridge collapse, 9 hospitalized (March 15, 2018)In a news release late Friday, FDOT provided media outlets with a full transcript of the voicemail left by W. Denney Pate of FIGG Bridge Engineers on Tuesday, March 13:”Hey Tom, this is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers.Calling to, uh, share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend. Um, so, uh, we’ve taken a look at it and, uh, obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there, so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective, although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that.At any rate, I wanted to chat with you about that,  because I suspect at some point that’s gonna get to your desk. So, uh, at any rate, call me back when you can. Thank you. Bye.”The voicemail was left on a landline, according to FDOT, and not received by its intended receipient until Friday, March 16, as the employee was out of the office on assignment.FDOT officials also said that hours before the bridge collapse an FDOT consultant, Alfredo Reyna, attended a meeting with Pate and other members of the FIU design team responsible for the bridge. Reyna was reportedly not informed during that meeting of any “life-safety” issues, any need for additional road closures or requests for any other assistance from FDOT. Finally, FDOT stated in the release that it was the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them, and they not made aware by the FIU design team of any scheduled “stress testing” of the bridge following its installation. Per FDOT’s standard safety procedures, the agency would have issued a permit for partial or full road closure for SW 8th Street if the FIU design team or the FIU-contracted construction inspector had deemed it necessary for structural testing.FIGG Bridge Engineers responded with a statement late Friday:“FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc., continues to work diligently with the construction team to help determine the cause of the collapse of the pedestrian bridge that was under construction at Florida International University. We are heartbroken by the loss of life and injuries, and are carefully examining the steps that our team has taken in the interest of our overarching concern for public safety.The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues.We will pursue answers to find out what factors led to this tragic situation, but it is important that the agencies responsible for investigating this devastating situation are given the appropriate time in order to accurately identify what factors led to the accident during construction. We are committed to working with all appropriate authorities throughout this process.”FDOT is continuing an internal review in connection with the collapse. Meanwhile, an investigation led by the NTSB and local and state law enforcement agencies into the cause of the collapse is ongoing. 
Source: MyNews13