Florida university bridge collapses leaving several fatalities


Well-Known Member

A newly installed pedestrian bridge has collapsed at Florida International University and police say there are several fatalities.

Images of the buckled structure at the college in Miami were shared across social media on Thursday afternoon.
The 950-ton span only went up on Saturday, CBS Miami reports.

Local media report that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the bridge, which was built over a motorway.

Florida Highway Patrol Lt Alejandro Camacho told CBS News there were several fatalities and five to six vehicles crushed.

Aerial footage shows first responders trying to get under the bridge to trapped cars.
The Miami Herald said the bridge, which connected the college to a student housing area, had long been requested by students and staff at the university so they could avoid the traffic below.
Photos and video in article.


Well-Known Member

The $14.2 million bridge was mostly funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, with additional funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, FIU, and the City of Sweetwater.

The bridge was being built by MCM Construction and had been designed by FIGG Bridge Design, the firm that built the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay. In collaboration with FIU, bridge builders were using construction techniques called Accelerated Bridge Construction which allows for the major span of the bridge to be built off-site and then swung into place. The elevated pedestrian span was dropped into place by gantry cranes just days before the incident.

In a press release issued on March 10, FIU said the construction methods "which are being advanced at FIU's Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center" would reduce "potential risk to workers, commuters and pedestrians" while minimizing traffic interruptions.
Major embarrassment...


Well-Known Member
What actually supports that bridge, design seems weird, any of you civ eng care to comment.
Definitely an unusual designL http://news.fiu.edu/2016/02/fiu-sel...ild-pedestrian-bridge-across-8th-street/97102

Edit: This is the part that seems to be missing in the collapsed structure (IMHO). Without support, the bridge will be guaranteed to fall down:

The proposed MCM-FIGG bridge design includes a central support tower rising 108 feet above the road that will make the structure a landmark and a gateway for western Miami-Dade County.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
True, there were two workers on the bridge, but it seems unlikely they had anything to do with the collapse (IMHO). FYI, the bridge wights 950 tons, and required a major effort to move into place.

Video visualisation of the bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y_71L35CvM

Edit: It looks like the section that collapsed was only half of the bridge, the span over the road. The other half spanning the canal, as well as the central support column, were not yet installed. The overall structure can clearly be seen near the end of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y_71L35CvM&feature=youtu.be&t=66
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
True, there were two workers on the bridge, but it seems unlikely they had anything to do with the collapse (IMHO). FYI, the bridge wights 950 tons, and required a major effort to move into place.

Video visualisation of the bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y_71L35CvM
I have no idea how the bridge is supported. It may have been something else. I was just highlighting something I picked up from the article
Looks like still under construction? Thats the 'left side', base on 'end' is actually the center which would be built up and cabled to hold left and right up, right not in place yet? Guess they should have built center to cable it befor putting side in place /shrug
Looks like a catastrophic failure in temporary works design or construction.

In its partly constructed phase it probably needed some additional support that was wither not foreseen or juat not installed correctly.

On the phone currently, will look more in detail tomorrow.

This will definitely be featuring in my temporary works forum tomorrow.


Well-Known Member
Its worth reading the classic design flaw example that killed over 100 people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyatt_Regency_walkway_collapse

Its never just one thing that causes such a disaster, but usually a small change that is made during construction, that seems insignificant to the person making it, but fundamentally weakens the design.

In the case I would speculate that the original structural design is perfect, and could have been constructed using traditional techniques (scaffolding and road closures).

The decision to use a modular (offsite) process, may have produced an interim structure, which was not strong enough to hold its own weight, before the rest of the pieces were assembled.

And yes, this does remind me of many TV disaster documentaries. Hopefully painful lessons will be learned.

Edit: My post was drafted before I read buka001's comment, with which I agree.
Last edited:
Community gathers to watch 950-ton bridge move across Southwest 8th Street

Twelve-year-old Michelle Flores shared a special moment with her family at FIU this past Saturday: She and her sister Gabriela joined their parents, FIU alumni Leonor and Henry Flores MIS ’01, to watch a 950-ton section of a pedestrian bridge swing into its permanent position across Southwest 8th Street.

Leonor Flores ’98 is a project executive and one of 63 FIU alumni who work for MCM, the construction firm building the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge, which will further connect FIU and its northerly neighbor, the City of Sweetwater. She was excited to share her work with her family, especially Michelle, who is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in school.

Michelle said she might want to follow in her parents’ footsteps and go to FIU when the time comes, and that it was fascinating to see her mom’s work in action. “I’m interested in the architecture and the design of the bridge, and the math portion of it,” she said.
Looks like 12 year old Michelle messed with mommy's plans...


Well-Known Member
“This project is an outstanding example of the ABC method,” said chair of FIU’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and director of FIU’s ABC-UTC Atorod Azizinamini, who is one of the world’s leading experts on Accelerated Bridge Construction. “Building the major element of the bridge – its main span superstructure – outside of the traveled way and away from busy Eighth Street is a milestone.”

Outstanding indeed....