People throughout Miami-Dade County are understandably shaken after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge this past Thursday. The bridge, which was erected less than a week ago on Saturday (March 10th), was a $14.2m project of the US Department of Transportation and was built to create a pathway from Florida International University in Miami to Sweetwater, a city that lies on the other side of 8th Street. Calls for a pedestrian bridge reached critical volume last after an 18-year-old student at FIU was struck by a car and killed while trying to cross 8th Street. In a seeming victory for those concerned, the 950 ton bridge was constructed and installed last Saturday over the course of several hours.
Reports from various Miami-Dade County emergency personnel indicate the possibility that the bridge’s collapse happened during a routine stress test. Supposedly built to withstand the aggression of a category 5 hurricane, the entire 174 feet of the bridge suddenly flattened during some portion of the stress test.
Pictures from the scene show numerous cars crushed underneath the colossal concrete structure, and while some of these cars were only pinned by their backs, many more were fully underneath the bridge when it fell.
A preliminary report from the Juan Perez, police chief with the Miami-Dade Police Department, indicates that there were also pedestrians, including construction workers, on top of the bridge at the time of its collapse. At the time of this writing, no official casualty figures have been released, but it is believed that there are numerous dead and wounded. Among the wounded are at least 2 people still in extremely critical condition. The number of dead is likely between 6 and 10.
For several hours after the bridge’s collapse, rescue workers were still attempting to pull all of the people trapped underneath the bridge free. In tandem with this, an investigation was begun into the reasons behind the collapse. A primary figure in this investigation will be Munilla Construction Management, the company charged with installing the bridge itself. It is not clear if MCM was responsible for both the building and installation or just the installation, but regardless their work will come under close scrutiny in the coming weeks as the numerous individuals and government agencies seek to understand just why this terrible event happened.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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