Research points out that the street where the bridge fell in Florida must have been closed

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Research points out that the street where the bridge fell in Florida must have been closed View of the collapsed pedestrian bridge at the International University of Florida (FIU), in Miami, United States, on March 16, 2018. EFE / Archivo

 Miami, .- A federal investigation released Tuesday concluded that the stretch of Miami’s Calle Ocho on which a pedestrian bridge was built that collapsed in March last year and killed six people had to be closed.

A report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that the engineers in charge of the design and construction of the pedestrian bridge of the International University of Florida (FIU) had to order the immediate closure of Calle Ocho, one of the main Miami roads, before the cracks presented by the structure.

The report points out among the causes of the bridge’s 174-foot (53-meter) long bridge collapse in full daylight, for which an “accelerated construction” method, a “poor” design by the FIGG Bridge firm, was employed. Engineers, as well as inadequate supervision of two consulting firms.

“The bridge had structural design deficiencies that contributed to the collapse during the third stage of construction, and the cracks in the bridge were caused by a poor structural design,” the document stresses.

The document, echoed by local media, accounts for emails and text messages from workers alerting their supervisors of the “deep and deep cracks” that appeared days before the bridge collapsed.

The warnings, however, were ignored by the engineers responsible for FIGG Bridge Engineers, even during a meeting between representatives of the contractor companies involved in the work, in addition to the FIU itself, on the morning of March 15, 2018, that is, hours before the structure fell.

Kevin Hanson, a supervisor of the crew that worked for one of the contractors and was seriously injured in the accident, was “visibly disturbed” by the cracks he had seen, and so he told his bosses and the firm FIGG Bridge Engineers , accompanied by photos he took.

The defendants also included construction company Munilla Construction Management (MCM), which had to “exercise its own independent professional judgment,” according to the federal agency document, as well as Louis Berger, which was to carry out an independent analysis of the design of the FIGG.

Last month, MCM reached an agreement with insurers to pay more than 42 million dollars to the victims, and after declaring bankruptcy at the beginning of this year.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has yet to issue its report, which is expected to be done by the end of the year. (EFEUSA)

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