FDOT prepares for design, build of new FIU pedestrian bridge two years after disaster

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After significant coordination with local partners, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced on March 6 its plan to design and build a pedestrian bridge at the site of the 2018 Florida International University bridge disaster

FDOT says in a statement that will manage and oversee all aspects of the project on State Road (SR) 90/SW 8 Street at SW 109 Avenue in Miami-Dade County

The new plans incorporate additional enhanced safety measures, including the recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency asserts.

“FDOT has learned valuable lessons since the tragic events surrounding the FIU bridge collapse two years ago,” said FDOT secretary Kevin J. Thibault. “The department has worked closely with the NTSB and local partners to ensure proactive safety measures are included in the plans for this much-needed bridge. The department will ensure all safety measures are in place and are followed so we may provide a safe option for pedestrians in this high-traffic area.”

FDOT safety measures include changes to its interactions with project sponsors and the processes the department employs relating to major local agency program (LAP) projects.

The department says it is working closely with local partners, including the City of Sweetwater and FIU, to provide pedestrians a safe and accessible crossing to and from the university.

FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus is on the south side of SR 90/SW 8 St. just west of SW 107 Ave. Student housing and residential towers are on the north side of the road within the City of Sweetwater.

In June 2017, an FIU student was struck and killed while crossing the road at SW 109 Avenue, prompting local and state officials to seek ways to address pedestrian safety.

On March 15, 2018, six people died when the under-construction bridge collapsed across Eighth street.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found a slew of errors in the design and construction of the bridge, and said the road should have been closed to traffic, the Miami Herald reported last year. OSHA spread the blame, saying Figg Bridge Engineers’ “deficient” design led to structural failure of the bridge; and Figg’s attempt to close the cracks, which triggered the collapse, was a fatal action.

OSHA also found that Munilla Construction Management failed to use “independent judgment with regard to implementing necessary safety measures” after Figg disregarded concerns over growing cracks on the morning that the portion of the bridge fell. Federal investigators also said that FIU and FDOT should have stepped in that morning and had independent experts review Figg’s conclusions, The Real Deal reported.

FDOT says besign will begin in early 2021 and is expected to last two years. The department will coordinate with FIU regarding the bridge’s aesthetics.

Construction of the replacement bridge will take approximately two years.

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