Friday, 20 July, 2018

Crack in Florida bridge deemed no concern just hours before collapse

Company that designed failed Miami bridge worked on Connecticut's Q, Moses Wheeler spans Engineering firm behind collapsed Florida bridge also designed multiple bridges in Virginia
Freda Brock | 17 March, 2018, 23:11

Investigators say they do not believe they will find any more survivors in the rubble.

At least six people died in the collapse.

As the 950-ton concrete bridge section was swung into place over a highway last weekend, Florida International University officials were beaming with pride.

Florida transportation officials say that an engineer with the private firm that designed the concrete bridge that collapsed Thursday called the state two days before the incident to report cracks in the structure.

State officials revealed on Thursday night that the university's bridge-build team, which included MCM and the Tallahassee-based Figg Bridge Group, had hired a third-party company to conduct an independent, secondary design review of the project, and that that contractor was not pre-qualified by the Florida transport department to do the work.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at a press conference late yesterday that they are not now aware of cracks in the bridge and they had not received any tips.

Russian Federation expels 23 United Kingdom diplomats in dispute over former spy's poisoning
Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday delivered her response to the expulsion of 23 British diplomats by the Russian government. Meanwhile new tensions have surfaced over the death this week of a London-based Russian businessman, Nikolai Glushkov.

"Those bridge safety inspections are used to determine the safety for the traveling public and identify issues that need to be addressed", said Jeff Hill, a bridge engineer in VDOT's Richmond District. At the time however, the engineer had not deemed it an immediate safety concern. The death toll is at least six, including 18-year-old Alexa Duran, a student at the school.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, FDOT said the "sole responsibility" of identifying, addressing, and properly communicating life-safety issues fell on the design-build team. The engineer, W Denney Pate, left a voicemail on the landline of a department employee.

The university later added a more detailed recollection of the Thursday meeting. The company's website says it's known for being a pioneer in artful bridge design since 1978.

"Amjad Aref, a professor at University of Buffalo's Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, said a suspended bridge is typically built gradually, with the center tower or towers erected early".

Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating. Workers recognized moments of silence as vehicles were brought out, he said, "so these victims can have some dignity".

A college student who narrowly escaped from a auto that was smashed in the collapse said he watched helplessly as the structure tumbled down on top of the vehicle and killed his friend Alexa Duran, who was sitting next to him in the driver's seat. "We've been saying that from the begining because of the amount of weight and the size of the structure that is laying on top of these vehicles". Since joining The Washington Post in 1997, she also has covered crime, courts, education and local government.

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