Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Engineer left voicemail warning about Florida bridge cracks two days before collapse

Engineer left voicemail warning about Florida bridge cracks two days before collapse

Two days before a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed at Florida International University, an engineer with the company that designed it reportedly noticed cracking in the span.

New details are starting to emerge about the horrific Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse that claimed at least six lives on Thursday afternoon.

Utah started using the ABC technique in 2007 and it has since become the primary way bridges are built, with more than 200 of them around the state, said Carmen Swanwick, chief structural engineer with the state Transportation Department. The engineer, W Denney Pate, left a voicemail on the landline of a department employee.

News of the meeting followed a revelation late on Friday that the engineer overseeing the bridge, which linked the FIU campus with the city of Sweetwater, had called a state official two days before the collapse to report cracks.

"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", Pate said.

The voicemail was not heard until Friday, when an FDOT employee returned to the office.

It's unclear if those cracks contributed to the bridge's deadly collapse.

"The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the F.I.U. design-build team", the agency stated.

University officials have said engineers had performed stress tests to determine the "resiliency of the concrete" in the bridge.

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The violations were related to a June 2012 incident in which a 52 foot-long, 10-foot-wide portion of a bridge in Chesapeake, Virginia, that FIGG was working on collapsed onto a railroad, according to a lawsuit the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Company filed against FIGG.

"We're going to all want to do our best to find out exactly what happened here, and we will do that in a transparent manner", he said.

"We don't normally do it that way", Arockiasamy said.

Three more bodies were discovered in those two cars.

National Transportation Safety Board personnel will be combing through the wreckage to find clues for why the bridge, installed Saturday, collapsed.

"The entire bridge is in jeopardy", Zabaleta said.

MCM is owned by five brothers from the Munilla family, several of them former students at FIU.

"Pictures from the scene of the collapse don't show a central tower". Federal contract data shows that since 2013, MCM has been awarded about $130 million worth of contracts from the Army and Navy for various construction, maintenance and fix projects.

Much of the funding for the $14.2 million bridge and its plazas and walkways came from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant. Another of the mayor's sons, Julio Gimenez, also used to work for MCM as a construction executive, according to the newspaper.

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