‘Worrisome’ cracks were found in Florida International University bridge TWO WEEKS before it collapsed killing six people

Engineers working on the Florida International University pedestrian bridge discovered ‘worrisome’ cracks in the structure two weeks before it collapsed killing six people, including FIU student Alexa Duran.

According to the Miami Herald, photographs and an email unintentionally released to them by the school detail the troubling cracks found in a key concrete support truss which supports the bridge.

The outlet reports that the cracks were found 10 days before the school’s engineers put the bridge in place above US Route 41, known locally as Tamiami Trail.

A new report claims FIU’s construction and engineer team found cracks in the bridge two weeks before it collapsed

A new report claims FIU’s construction and engineer team found cracks in the bridge two weeks before it collapsed

A February 28 memo by a consulting engineer for the school said one of the cracks in the structure ‘merits special attention’

A February 28 memo by a consulting engineer for the school said one of the cracks in the structure ‘merits special attention’

The cracks were found in a key concrete support truss, which supports the bridge

The cracks were found in a key concrete support truss, which supports the bridge

The bridge collapsed on March 15 killing six people, including a student at Florida International University

The bridge collapsed on March 15 killing six people, including a student at Florida International University

The 950-ton structure collapsed on March 15 killing Duran; 18, Navaro Brown, 37; Brandon Brownfield; Rolando Fraga Hernandez, 60; Osvaldo Gonzalez, 57; and Alberto Arias, 54.

Minor cracks in concrete structures are common, but according to the outlet several cracks discovered by FIU’s construction and engineering team in late February were ‘worrisome’.

18-year-old Alexa Duran was one of the victims of the bridge collapse

18-year-old Alexa Duran was one of the victims of the bridge collapse

An email, which the Herald obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that the cracks were found at the base of a diagonal support member at the north end of the span.

Three of the four independent contractors the Herald spoke with said the cracks were ‘red flags’ and signaled ‘potentially critical structural problems’.

They said the cracks should have prompted FIU’s engineers to stop work on the bridge and perform an in-depth review which likely would have resulted in the truss connection being re-engineered.

One of the engineers, Linwood Howell, said the cracks were a sign of the structure’s ‘imminent failure’.

‘There’s nothing they could have done short of starting over and redesigning the structure,’ said Howell, whose firm conducts bridge inspections for the state of Texas.

Ralph Verrastro of Naples, Florida, told the outlet that after examining the photographs and other details, the cracks did not appear significant to him and don’t ‘clearly provide any clues related to ultimate failure’.

‘I would assume these cracks would have been repaired by epoxy injection before the bridge was moved,’ he said.

Alberto Arias (right) and Rolando Fraga (left) were both killed while they driving under the FIU pedestrian bridge on March 15

Alberto Arias (right) and Rolando Fraga (left) were both killed while they driving under the FIU pedestrian bridge on March 15

Friends Oswald Gonzalez (left), 57, and Alberto Arias (right) were also killed in the collapse

Friends Oswald Gonzalez (left), 57, and Alberto Arias (right) were also killed in the collapse

Bridge worker Navaro Brown is among the six victims of the fatal pedestrian bridge collapse

Bridge worker Navaro Brown is among the six victims of the fatal pedestrian bridge collapse

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the collapse. The $14.2million structure was built to connect FIU to parts of the school’s student housing over US Route 41

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the collapse. The $14.2million structure was built to connect FIU to parts of the school’s student housing over US Route 41

Because FIU has been advised against releasing records and memos pertaining to the structure, it’s not clear if or how the school’s construction and engineering team handled the cracks.

The Herald also obtained a February 28 memo by Jose Morales, a consulting engineer for the school, who wrote that one crack in particular ‘merits special attention’ and urged the bridge engineer to ‘provide a response’.

The cracks Morales mentioned in the memo were found before the bridge was put in place, the Herald reports. Again, it’s not clear if or how FIU responded to the memo and a clear-cut cause for the collapse most likely won’t be established until the National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation.

According to the Herald, 10 days after Morales sent the memo, the pedestrian bridge was lifted into place. Five days after it was put into place, the bridge collapsed while it was under construction.

The $14.2million structure was built to connect FIU to parts of the school’s student housing over US Route 41.

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