The walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area, had been raised less than a week ago but was not expected to be operational until 2019.
The chief engineer of a Florida bridge project warned authorities of cracking in the structure days before it collapsed, killing at least six people, the southern U.S. state's department of transportation said Friday.Members of the National Transportation Safety Board investigate the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 16, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
In a transcript of the voicemail released tonight (local time), Denney Pate from the FIGG Bridge Group said the cracking would need repairs.
The design of the Florida International University Bridge was such that it could withstand a Category 5 hurricane, hence its sudden collapse over a six-lane highway was most unexpected. Reports indicate that there are six fatalities as a result of the collapse.
The call from W. Denney Pate of FIGG Bridge Engineers went unanswered, and the voice mail he recorded unheard - until Friday. After that tragedy, FIGG was selected to design the replacement bridge that's now in use.
Munilla Construction Management (MCM), which installed the bridge, said it was devastated by what happened, was cooperating with investigators, and doing everything it could to help. Yet, the same company was responsible for a collapse of a 90-ton segment of another bridge in Virginia in 2012, which left four workers with minor injuries.
His office earlier issued a statement saying that a company contracted to inspect the bridge was not pre-qualified by the state.
The reason behind Thursday's collapse remains a mystery, and the company has said it will conduct a full investigation.
In 2007, the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, killing 13 people and injuring 145.
The $14.2mn bridge was created to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the rating given the most risky storms by the National Hurricane Centre, and built to last 100 years, the university said.
Miami-Dade county police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta told reporters that on Friday rescue operations shifted to one of body recovery, with engineers fearing the support structures at either end of the bridge could also come down.
However, he added, there were no safety concerns on the project.
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That leaves at least two people who authorities believe are still in the rubble, but Kemp cautioned Saturday that the final death toll won't be known until all the vehicles are removed. No identities of those killed have been released.
The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and has not yet determined the cause of the collapse.
The pedestrian bridge, which stretches over 8th street on the outskirts of Miami and was not complete at the time of the collapse, is believed to have fallen during "stress tests" where cables connected to the structure were being tightened, according to information released by U.S. senator Marco Rubio.
The cables supporting the span were being tightened following a "stress test" when it collapsed, authorities said.
Engineers also had a permit that allowed them to close the road under the bridge, the Tamiami Trail, but FDOT said the design team never made the request.
He says they can't yet release any information about the victims.
"The way the bridge fell, it fell on the driver's side", another friend, Lynnet Gomez, had told the Herald on Thursday, as she and Perez waited at the campus for word of their friend.
Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey said Thursday night that his crew is using high-tech listening devices, trained sniffing dogs and search cameras in a race to find anyone still alive in the rubble.
The $14.2 million project was supposed to take advantage of a faster, cheaper and safer method of bridge-building promoted by the university.
The footage shows how the bridge suddenly collapses on the road.
Police had said the work to remove crushed vehicles from the scene would be long and tedious - in part because the large debris that smashed them needed to be broken down into small chunks and taken away.