FIU Bridge Collapse Personal Injury Wrongful Death

The 174-foot, 950-ton bridge was swung into place on March 10 and expected to be opened in early 2019, according to a previous news release from FIU. It was built to help FIU students cross Southwest 8th Street, a busy eight-lane road.  Photo Credit: MCM CONSTRUCTION

This article is brought to you byThe Dawson Law Firm and by staff on South Florida Business News March 15, 2018

Florida International University’s new pedestrian bridge at its main campus collapsed Thursday afternoon, killing several people and injuring others, according to Miami Dade County Fire Rescue.

WSVN reported that at least one person underneath the bridge was confirmed dead. Eye witnesses who posted about the collapse on Twitter reported that least five cars were beneath the bridge and multiple people were crushed.

The 174-foot, 950-ton bridge was swung into place on March 10 and expected to be opened in early 2019, according to a previous news release from FIU. It was built to help FIU students cross Southwest 8th Street, a busy eight-lane road.

“We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge,” FIU said in a statement. “At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information. We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene. We will share updates as we have them.”

The $14.2 million bridge was mostly funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, with additional funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, FIU, and the City of Sweetwater.

The bridge was being built by MCM Construction and had been designed by FIGG Bridge Design, the firm that built the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay. In collaboration with FIU, bridge builders were using construction techniques called Accelerated Bridge Construction which allows for the major span of the bridge to be built off-site and then swung into place. The elevated pedestrian span was dropped into place by gantry cranes just days before the incident.

“We are stunned by today’s tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami,” FIGG Bridge Design said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this accident. We will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why. In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before. Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved.”

In a press release issued on March 10, FIU said the construction methods “which are being advanced at FIU’s Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center” would reduce “potential risk to workers, commuters and pedestrians” while minimizing traffic interruptions.

Following the collapse, Miami-based MCM Construction issued a press release stating:

“Our family’s thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. We are all devastated and are doing everything we can to assist.  We expect a full investigation to follow and will cooperate in every way.”

The UniversityCity Bridge was the largest pedestrian bridge in the U.S. moved via self-propelled modular transportation, according to FIU. The university also said it the first pedestrian bridge constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete, which uses titanium dioxide in the concrete to capture pollution and keep the structure white.

Miami-Dade County Emergency Management has asked people to avoid the area of S.W. 8th Street and 109th Avenue.

Miami-based MCM or Munilla Construction Management LLC was founded in Miami, Florida in November 1983 by the Munilla Brothers: Jorge Munilla, Pedro Munilla, Fernando Munilla, Juan Munilla, Raul Munilla. It had previously completed the FIU’s football stadium expansion in August 2012.