Miami, Florida, USA: A 174-foot, 950-ton pedestrian bridge – over a multiple-lane roadway – scheduled to open at the campus of Florida International University, on the intersection of SW Eighth Street and SW 109th Avenue in Miami, collapsed Thursday trapping vehicles below, with Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alejandro Camacho confirming “several fatalities”.
Six to 10 people were killed when the newly erected pedestrian bridge spanning several lanes of traffic collapsed, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told reporters.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is at the scene and has requested that residents avoid the area of Tamiami Trail and 107 avenue until further notice.
According to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, eight vehicles remain trapped under rubble at the scene.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump was aware of the situation. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will be on the scene to meet with local officials this evening.
The bridge was installed at Southwest 109th Avenue Saturday morning, intended eventually to provide pedestrian access across Tamiami Trail from FIU’s main campus to Sweetwater, where thousands of students live in off-campus housing or in FIU’s newer dorms. MCM Construction and FIGG Bridge Design collaborated on the $14.2 million cable-supported bridge. Details about the bridge from a press release about its opening:- 174 feet long- Was put in place on March 10, 2018.- Weight – 950 tons- Largest pedestrian bridge move via Self-Propelled Modular Transportation, in U.S. history, according to senior project manager Rodrigo Isaza, from MCM, which partnered with FIGG Bridge Engineers to design and build the bridge. Funding for the bridge was part of a $19.4 million grant from the US Department of Transportation.
Before Saturday’s installation, FIU said the method of overall installation significantly reduced the risk to workers, walkers, drivers and minimized traffic disruptions for construction.
The $14.2 million bridge crossed over a busy seven-lane road highway that divided the university’s campus from the city of Sweetwater.
MCM, the Miami-based construction management firm who won the bridge contract, took its website down on Thursday. But an archived version of the website featured a news release touting the project.
“This our first Design-Build with FIGG Bridge Engineers, a nationally acclaimed, award-winning firm based out of Tallahassee. FIGG has designed iconic bridges all over the country, including Boston’s famous Leonard P. Zakim Bridge and Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge.”
“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 university said on its Twitter account.
“We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene,” it added. #FIUBridgecollapse
Students at FIU are currently on their spring break vacation, which runs from March 12 to March 17.
Kendall Regional Medical Center director Mark McKenney told reporters at a press conference that the hospital, located about three miles away from the bridge, received 10 patients from the scene.
Two of those patients were in critical condition, including one in his thirties who arrived in cardiac arrest and a second who was in a coma when he arrived, McKenney said.
The other eight patients, he said, were in stable condition.