Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pedestrian Bridge in Miami is the city's latest tragedy - Poem: Collapse

   Collapse on Thursday, March 15, 2018

From the Times:  An engineer reported cracks on a newly installed pedestrian bridge two days before it collapsed on a busy roadway here, killing at least six people, state officials said on Friday.
The report, by the lead engineer with the company in charge of the bridge’s design, was made in a voice mail message left for a Florida Department of Transportation employee. That employee was out of the office, however, and did not receive it until Friday, a day after the collapse.

The cracking was on the north end of the span but the company did not consider it a safety concern, according to a recording of the message released by the Transportation Department.

“We’ve taken a look at it and, uh, 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 the engineer, W. Denney Pate. “Although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, you know, done to repair that.”

The transportation department said on Friday that “the responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the F.I.U. design-build team,” referring to Florida International University, which commissioned the bridge.
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In a statement, Figg Bridge Engineers, which designed the bridge, said that it was “heartbroken by the loss of life and injuries” and was “carefully examining the steps that our team has taken in the interest of our overarching concern for public safety.”

“The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues,” the statement said. “It is important that the agencies responsible for investigating this devastating situation are given the appropriate time in order to accurately identify what factors led to the accident during construction.”
Earlier on Friday, the authorities in Miami-Dade County announced that they had called off the search for survivors. Officials were now turning their attention to finding out exactly why the new bridge — hailed as a breakthrough in speedy, safe construction — had given way over the road beneath, killing at least half a dozen people and sending 10 more to hospitals.

From The Sun Sentinel in Miami - The bridge was put in place Saturday and was to be completed in 2019. It crossed Southwest Eighth Street and was intended to be a safe passageway for students and connect the school’s campus to the city of Sweetwater to the north.

State and federal investigators began Friday to figure out why the span failed.
The university was open Friday. A main entrance to campus was closed because traffic along Southwest Eighth Street between Southwest 107th Avenue to Southwest 117th Avenue will be detoured indefinitely.

“The people of South Florida have been through a lot, obviously, over the last several weeks, ” National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt III said Friday, referring to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, when 17 were killed and 17 wounded. “And this is just yet one more tragedy to add to that sad book.”

A “go team” of specialists, including experts in civil engineering and materials science from NTSB will study the failed project. He expects the NTSB team to work on the scene for five to seven days. Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were also working at the fallen bridge.

“Our entire purpose is to find out what happened so we can keep it from happening again,” Sumwalt said.

Authorities declined to address reports about whether the bridge had undergone testing before the Thursday afternoon collapse.

Ever read The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder?




The screams echoed in my ears.
Help! Help! Help!
I'm falling. I'm falling.

In the blink of an eye
I got ready to meet my maker
Steering my red Toyota
ridiculously back and forth

A million thoughts buzzed
through my brain. The inmates
who made the plates, did I turn
the dishwasher off? How would
I look when they found me?

Quickly I felt to see if I'd
worn both aquamarine earrings.

Broken collarbone, they said
at the hospital, the one where
Colin and Amanda Lee
were born.

Was it my fault? Had I done
something to anger the gods?
Was my Toyota too heavy?

Thy will be done.

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