Sweetwater, Miami, FL – At least 6 are confirmed dead – one of whom is a student – and 10 injured, as first responders shift their focus from rescue to recovery, following what has been described as a catastrophic bridge collapse on a busy highway at the Florida International University, dumping 780 tons of concrete on vehicles below.
8 vehicles are reported to be trapped beneath the rubble.
The bridge went into service over the weekend. According to a fact sheet about the bridge on FIU’s website, it cost $14.2 million to build and was funded as part of a $19.4 million grant from the US Department of Transportation.
The main span was built on 109th Ave and 8th Street.
The bridge was constructed using an innovative approach – a technique meant to reduce potential risks to workers, commuters, and pedestrians and prevented traffic tie-ups in the area.
Reports indicate a stress test was underway at the time of the collapse.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said in Washington on Thursday that a team was headed immediately to Miami to investigate. OSHA will conduct a parallel investigation with a homicide team. Sumwalt added that the NTSB had been told construction workers were on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
According to the Washington Post, the main builder of the bridge, Munilla Construction Management (MCM), is a major South Florida construction firm that has been hired to rebuild expressways, update part of Miami International Airport, and construct a new test track for Miami’s Metrorail system.