By Michelle Marchante/Editor in Chief
Cracks that appeared in the University’s pedestrian bridge days before it collapsed were larger than previously disclosed, according to photos released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday, Aug. 9, as part of an investigative update.
The report states that the photos pictured below “illustrates” the condition of the cracks after the main span was placed on Saturday, March 10.
One of the cracks appears to be about 3 ½ inches deep into the bridge’s deck, according to The Miami Herald, and can be found in the section that is believed to have failed on Thursday, March 15, causing the bridge to fall about 18.5 feet, killing six motorists, including FIU student Alexa Duran.
These photos raise more questions as to why none of the parties involved in the bridge’s construction thought to close the road to repair or examine the bridge, especially as the NTSB’s preliminary report included photos taken on Saturday, Feb. 24, which documented the cracks found in the region of the structure (labeled (diagonal member 11) weeks before the bridge was placed over SW 8th St, as Student Media previously reported.
The new photos, based on their time stamps, were taken on the same day or a day after W. Denney Pate, one of FIGG’s engineers, left a voicemail to FDOT alerting them about the cracks.
Voicemail audio courtesy of FDOT. To read a transcript of this voicemail, click here.
“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 so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective,” said Pate in the voicemail, “although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that.”
FDOT did not hear the voicemail until the day after the collapse.
The six-page report also details the examination and testing of the bridge’s construction material, including an evaluation of the bridge’s “re-tensioning activity” before the collapse. No problems were found in the bridge’s concrete or steel bars, suggesting a design mistake may have occurred, according to The Miami Herald.
However, the report draws no conclusion as to what caused the bridge to collapse.
The report also states that NTSB investigators have completed the majority of their interviews and expect to complete the remaining interviews in early August.
Those interviewed already are FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc.; Munilla Construction Management; Structural Technologies LLC; Louis Berger Engineers; Florida Department of Transporation; The Corradino Group, Inc; George’s Crane Service, Inc.; and Bolton, Perez & Associates Consulting Engineers, who are now a party of the investigation.
The NTSB investigation is ongoing and Student Media will provide updates as more information becomes available. To read our previous coverage on the bridge collapse, click here.