New report says engineers ‘failed to recognize’ FIU bridge was in danger of collapsing

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - An Occupational Safety and Health Administration report said engineers did not act after seeing signs that the Florida International University bridge was in danger of collapsing.

Federal investigators released pictures with the report that showed cracks in the bridge, Tuesday.

The FIU bridge collapse killed six people and injured eight more along Southwest Eighth Street, near 109th Avenue, on March 15, 2018.

“It’s tough reliving this nightmare, watching her get crushed alive in front of us,” said Rob Smitha, the cousin of victim Alexa Duran.

The report revealed a crew supervisor sent a text message just five days before the collapse that said, “It cracked like hell.”

Investigators stated that “the bridge had structural design deficiencies that contributed to the collapse” and that design firm FIGG Bridge Engineers “failed to recognize that the bridge was in danger of collapsing when it inspected it hours before the collapse.”

The report went on to say that they “should have immediately instructed that the bridge be shored at appropriate locations” and that Southwest Eighth Street should have been closed.

“There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” said survivor Richard Humble.

Federal investigators also criticized the contractor that built the bridge, Magnum Construction Management, formerly known as Munilla Construction Management.

The report said the company “failed to exercise its own independent professional judgment as a constructor of the bridge to close the traffic on Southwest Eighth Street until the cause of the cracks were conclusively determined.”

Marcelo Duran, the father of victim Alexa Duran, spoke to 7News hours after the report was released.

“I will never be able to recover from that loss,” he said. “[It’s been a] very difficult year. The wound is still open.”

Duran said more should have been done to prevent the collapse.

“Close the street at least,” he said, “and if the bridge were to go down, so what? People would still be alive, including my daughter. There was not enough done, even the same day of the tragedy.”

Officials from the Florida Department of Transportation met with engineers just hours before the collapse but also did not require the road to be shut down.

Two days before the crash, one of the lead engineers on the project left a voicemail to FDOT that said, “We have taken a look at it, and 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.”

7News reached out to both FIGG Bridge Engineers and Magnum Construction Management.

A representative for FIGG Bridge Engineers released a statement Tuesday that read, “The OSHA FIU Pedestrian Bridge report is factually inaccurate and incomplete, and includes errors and flawed analyses. It does not include an evaluation of many important factors pertinent to the construction process leading up to the accident. Additionally, it has not been reviewed by any other entities involved in the accident investigation.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the incident.

Click here to see the OSHA report on the collapse.

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