Thursday’s collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University Thursday was the second tragedy to hit South Florida in a month. The first, the school shootings in Parkland a little over four weeks ago, killed 17. The death toll in Thursday’s bridge collapse stands at six.
As with the first tragedy, news of the incident brought swift response from Florida lawmakers who are troubled by the loss of life and the injuries that occurred. Like everyone else, they want answers as to why the collapse occurred.
FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc., the designers of the bridge that collapsed, is based in Tallahassee and also provided a statement responding to the tragedy.
The following are the statements sent out by Miami area legislators and FIGG:
-Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami (FIU Alum)
“Our Panther family is aching from this horrific tragedy. My prayers continue for the victims and families of the Florida International University bridge collapse. Although state-of-the-art engineering and technology are the way of the future, safety must always come first. Rest assured, we will conduct a thorough investigation into this catastrophe and we will hold those accountable of any and all wrongdoing. I call on the South Florida community to come together for one of this state’s premier higher education institutions.”
-Rep. Robert Asencio, D-Miami
“I am extremely alarmed by the sudden collapse of the pedestrian bridge on eigth street that directed students to and from Florida International University, here in Miami. The structural failure and subsequent deaths and injuries are tragic, to say the least. I and other local leaders are monitoring the situation closely.
“This is a public access point that many residents from across Miami Dade County, including House District 118, take very frequently. I and many others, seek an immediate investigation to identify why this occurred. This is a new bridge. We have enough to worry about with mass casualties in schools due to gun violence. The last thing we need is school infrastructure killing and injuring more students in Florida. This is beyond unacceptable.”
-Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami
“I join our community as we are shocked over the collapse of the Florida International University bridge. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families and my gratitude to the first responders for their heroic efforts. As part of the FIU family, the time will come to get answers. And we will.
“As such, I also want to add my outrage that this happened. We must protect our students and our residents! I am promising to my constituents, and to Miami-Dade as a whole, as the only Senator from Miami who sits on the Senate Transportation committee to get to the bottom of this disaster and hold those who are responsible accountable.”
-FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc.
“FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. is the designer of the bridge, working for MCM. The project is part of a $19.4 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, and was bid competitively using design-build procurement by Florida International University.
“FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why.
“This is an unprecedented event – no other bridge designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers has ever experienced such a collapse. FIGG-designed bridges have proven to be incredibly durable. For example, we have worked on more than 230 bridges throughout the United States and have designed nearly 35 miles of bridges in the southeastern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that have withstood multiple hurricanes.
“This pedestrian bridge collapse is truly tragic. The focus right now is on the first responders’ recovery operations. Multiple agencies have already begun an extensive review to determine what caused the collapse, and we will work closely with all appropriate authorities in this effort.
“The collapse of the pedestrian bridge in Miami is an unprecedented event that occurred during construction, and all completed bridges – including those designed by FIGG or any other firm – are inspected every two years by the individual state Departments of Transportation.”
If the bridge was still under construction as Figg states, why wasn’t traffic still blocked off??