December 3, 2020
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An investigative update issued by the National Transportation Safety Board Nov. 15 regarding the fatal Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse on March 15 this year indicated that “errors” were made in the design of the 174-foot span, with the cracking observed prior to the bridge’s collapse “consistent” with those design errors.

[Above photo by NTSB.]

NTSB noted in a statement that engineers at the Federal Highway Administration’s Turner-Fairbanks Highway Research Center conducted “numerous tests and examinations” of concrete and steel samples taken from the wreckage of the bridge and determined that they met the project’s build plans specified minimum requirements.

Photo by NTSB

However, Turner-Fairbanks researchers found that errors made were in the design of the northernmost nodal region of the span where two truss members were connected to the bridge deck. The design errors resulted in an overestimation of the load-carrying capacity of one of the bridge’s sections as well as an apparent underestimation of the load being placed upon that same section.

Six people died and eight others were injured when the bridge collapsed, NTSB added; a collapse that crushed eight vehicles located underneath the falling structure, seven of which were occupied at the time of incident.

editor@aashto.org

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