Thursday, 15 March 2018

'Several Dead' After Pedestrian Bridge Collapses On Top Of Cars And Pedestrians On Florida College Campus - Just Five Days After It Was Installed

Emergency personnel responds to a collapsed pedestrian bridge connecting Florida International University Florida International on Thursday, March 15, 2018 in the Miami area. The brand-new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a highway crushing at least five vehicles. Several people were seen being loaded into ambulances and authorities said they were searching for people. (Roberto Koltun/The Miami Herald via AP)
The bridge, located at 109th Ave and 8th Street, collapsed on a number of cars.

Six to 10 people have been killed when a newly installed pedestrian bridge spanning several lanes of traffic collapsed at Florida International University on Thursday, US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told local TV station CBS Miami. The 174-foot 'instant bridge' hailed as a feat of engineering and safety, was installed Saturday morning but was not due to open to the public until 2019. At least six injured people were taken away from the scene and eight vehicles were trapped in the bridge wreckage, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in an interview with CBS Miami.

Florida Highway Patrol initially said at least five cars were trapped underneath the debris as the bridge fell onto Tamiami Trail, but it was later learned there were eight vehicles underneath the rubble

The collapse of the bridge was shocking in light of the fact that it was installed in just six hours this past Saturday. The image above shows the span being lifted into place by cranes in Sweetwater

It was built to provide pedestrian access from FIU’s main campus to an area that houses a number of student residences.   

Two workers were replacing something on the side of the bridge when it collapsed, according to CBS Miami. 

The 950-ton span, which was built over Tamiami Trail at a cost of $14million, was not yet open to pedestrians. It was scheduled to open sometime early next year.

The bridge was built in order to link up Florida International University's campus with a neighborhood that houses students

Television images captured from helicopter show numerous cars that were crushed by the weight of the bridge

The municipality of Sweetwater tweeted a photo of the bridge after it was installed in place on Saturday morning
Images show a number of emergency rescue workers crawling along the rubble in an attempt to spot survivors

Tamiami Trail is considered a busy roadway, and the bridge was built in order to accommodate students who were fearful of crossing the highway.
Last summer, an FIU student was killed after he was hit by a car while crossing the highway, according to the Miami Herald
The tragedy amplified student demands for the bridge's prompt completion. 
Miami-Dade County Emergency Management confirmed the collapse and urged the public to avoid the area near SW 8th Street and 109th Avenue. 
'We thought something fell,' Damany Reed, who witnessed the collapse, told CBS Miami
'But then we saw the bridge collapse and it was just surreal at that moment. It was very scary.'
‘Me and my boyfriend had just driven under the bridge,’ witness Isabella Carrasco told CBSN.
‘We actually commented on how new it was ... We had heard a loud bang. At first, we thought we had hit something, and when we looked around, we realized the bridge had collapsed. When we looked around we saw that it was much, much worse.’ 
A Colorado-based engineering firm, BDI, deleted a tweet on Monday that said it was 'thrilled to have provided structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move'
A Colorado-based engineering firm, BDI, deleted a tweet on Monday that said it was 'thrilled to have provided structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move'
Lionel Collins, another witness, said he was 'pretty shaken' after he rescued a number of people from their cars.
'After the whole thing broke, I was freaking out,' Collins told CNN
'I got out of my car and me and a few other people were sprinting over there. We started helping people whose cars were at least half crushed and whoever was easily saved. 
'But we couldn't really go under any of the rubble because at the time, the bridge - the other half of the bridge is still kind of leaning upward right now.' 
'One girl, her car was literally squished by the bridge from the back,' one witness said. 
'So she was able to get out. We were trying to help her. It was very traumatizing.' 
FIU released a statement on Thursday, saying: 'We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge.
'At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information.'
The bridge and its support towers took months to construct, according to the Miami Herald
The main body of the span was assembled along the side of the Tamiami Trail, with support towers built at each end.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, the bridge was then lifted by special gantry cranes and lowered into place.
The portion of the roadway underneath the bridge was closed for the weekend. It reopened early Monday morning. 
A Colorado-based engineering firm, BDI, deleted a tweet on Monday that said it was 'thrilled to have provided structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move.'
The bridge, which was built at a cost of $14million and was funded by the federal government, was touted by the school as an achievement when it was completed last Saturday. 
Planners had envisioned the bridge as a new complex which would provide new sidewalks, a plaza, benches, tables, shade, and Wi-Fi.
The bridge was touted as part of overall efforts to revitalize Sweetwater, a city in Dade County. 
FIGG Bridge Engineers, the company that designed the project, said the bridge was not expected to be open to foot traffic until sometime next year. It is seen above before its collapse

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