By Jacqueline Quynh

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Contractors started to demolish what is left of the FIU pedestrian bridge on Monday.

Crews are removing two columns that remain from the horrific bridge collapse in March 2018, which crushed cars and killed six people.

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The FIU pedestrian bridge was under construction at the time of its collapse.

FIU pedestrian bridge collapse. (Source: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

The bridge was being built in the city of Sweetwater as a safety measure so that students did not have to cross the busy highway to get to and from its Modesto A. Maidique campus.

“Seeing it being taken down makes me happy but on a normal day when I pass by it, it’s pretty awful,” Alaina Bell, an FIU student said.

Demolition gets underway on September 17 of the remaining FIU pedestrian bridge pillars ahead of construction of a new bridge. (CBS4)

Following the collapse, the two columns were never removed but must be demolished now in order to begin construction on the new bridge.

The columns are located on both sides of 8th Street, requiring lane closures that will cause traffic delays.

“And for us all us and all the team members our main concern is safety,” Humberto Gomez, FDOT Project Manager told CBS4 last week.

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Starting September 27, one outside eastbound lane of SW 8 Street approaching 109 Avenue will be closed for around three weeks.

Once the first column is removed, crews will then move to the Sweetwater side, or north side, of 8 Street, and that could take another three weeks.

Construction of the new bridge is expected to start in summer 2023 and last about two years. Florida’s Department of Transportation will directly oversee the design and construction of the bridge.

Lane closures began Monday, September 27. (CBS4)

In the meantime, students will have no other option to get across the street, other than to wait at the crosswalk.

“They don’t even look, they’ll be on their phone, they’ll be looking the opposite way,” Bell said.

That’s not soon enough for Alaina Bell and others who are concerned about distracted drivers.

“Honestly the worst part is the cars that are turning right, do not like to stop,” Shelby Skulley, another student said.

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They want to ask drivers to give pedestrians more space in the area until the project is finally completed.

Jacqueline Quynh