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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Department of Transportation issued some new information regarding the investigation into the collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge.
FDOT explains that they issued a permit, at FIU’s design build team’s request, to close Southwest 8th Street during Saturday’s installation and issued an additional blanket permit which allowed for two-lane closures effective January through April.
The agency says that at no time did it receive a request to close the entire road.
FDOT also says that it was not made away by the FIU design build team of any scheduled “stress testing” of the bridge following Saturday’s installation.
The pedestrian bridge was an FIU project which means the university and its contractors are responsible for reviewing plans, permits, and inspection.
Miami based family business Munilla Construction Management partnered with FIGG Bridge Engineering and the secondary engineering firm Louis Berger Group.
In the interest of full transparency, FDOT released the transcript of a voicemail left on a landline on Tuesday, March 13, by W. Denney Pate, FIGG’s lead engineer responsible for the FIU pedestrian bridge project.
The transcription is below:
“Hey Tom, this is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers. Calling to, uh, share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend. Um, so, uh, 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 although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that. At any rate, I wanted to chat with you about that because I suspect at some point that’s gonna get to your desk. So, uh, at any rate, call me back when you can. Thank you. Bye.”
According to FDOT, the voicemail was not heard by an agency employee until Friday as he was out of the office on assignment.
On Wednesday, FDOT was also made aware of a midday meeting scheduled for Thursday with members of the FIU design build team responsible for the project.
The meeting, which an FDOT consultant attended, took place shortly before the bridge collapsed.
The consultant, Alfredo Reyna, says he was not notified of any life-safety issues or any need for additional road closures.
“The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team,” FDOT said in a released statement. “At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue. Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse.”
The NTSB is in the process of conducting an investigation into the failure and collapse of the bridge. FDOT is assisting in the investigation.