What’s happened since the bridge collapsed at FIU, killing six? Here’s a timeline
At 1:47 p.m. on March 15, 2018, the 950-ton bridge conceived by Florida International University to cross eight lanes of Southwest Eighth Street in front of its flagship campus collapsed.
Here are some key markers leading up to that catastrophe, which caused the deaths of six people, and what has happened since:
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March 10, 2018 — After assembling the bridge’s main 174-foot, steel-and-concrete span by the side of Southwest Eighth Street and 109th Avenue while support towers were built at either end, construction crews hoist the span and lower it into place by special gantry cranes at about 2 a.m.
March 15, 2018 — The bridge’s 950-ton span abruptly collapses, crushing cars stopped at a red light on Tamiami Trail and 109th Avenue at 1:47 p.m. that Thursday. Six people die: Alberto Arias, 53; Brandon Brownfield, 39; FIU student Alexa Duran, 18; Rolando Fraga, 60, and his partner Oswaldo Gonzalez, 57; and construction worker Navaro Brown, 37. Ten others are injured.
READ MORE: Who are the victims of the FIU bridge collapse now honored on campus?
Sept. 18, 2018 — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a federal agency in charge of workers’ safety, cites five companies involved in the bridge: FIGG Bridge Engineers, Network Engineering Services, Structural Technologies, Munilla Construction Management and the Structural Group of South Florida. OSHA levied seven violations and said the companies failed to protect workers, did not provide them with a proper safety line and did not remove them from the area despite the bridge developing cracks of “significant width, depth and length at critical locations.” The agency proposes $86,658 in penalties.
Nov. 15, 2018 — Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board issue a two-page report that concludes design flaws led to cracking in the southern portion in the bridge before it collapsed.
March 1, 2019 — MCM, the contractor behind the collapsed bridge, files for bankruptcy protection.
June 3, 2019 — Florida Department of Transportation releases documents showing that on the morning of the collapse, the firm that designed the span, FIGG, assured a meeting of state highway officials, university administrators, contractors and others that the bridge was safe.
June 11, 2019 — OSHA investigators issue a 115-page report that faulted all parties involved with the bridge, including FIU, state transportation officials and private contractors. This OSHA report is the first time federal investigators state unequivocally that Southwest Eighth Street should have been closed in response to the cracking on the bridge.
July 30, 2019 — The victims and their survivors reach a $102.7 million settlement, which a judge affirms on Dec. 12, 2019.
Sept. 20, 2019 — Will Watts, the chief engineer for the Florida Department of Transportation, sends a letter to the NTSB saying that FIU and its contractor were responsible for asking the state to close Tamiami Trail — but never did.
Nov. 13, 2019 — The NTSB issues its final report, citing failures in design, lack of adequate oversight and systematic negligence as reasons for the fatal collapse. “All parties involved in the ... project to build the pedestrian bridge were aware of the cracks and their progression, including FDOT, FIU, FIGG (FIGG Bridge Engineers, who designed it), MCM (the bridge contractor, Munilla Construction Management), and Bolton, Perez (Bolton Perez and Associates, consulting firm that was supposed to act as a backstop on design and construction),” NTSB said in its 152-page report.
Feb. 26, 2021 — Nearly three years after the bridge collapse, FIU transfers $9.1 million to FDOT to build a new pedestrian bridge.
March 15, 2022 — FIU unveils a memorial on campus honoring Alexa Duran, the FIU student killed in the collapse: a 7-foot bronze sculpture of her, with five lamp posts surrounding it, to represent the other victims.
May 4, 2022 — FDOT engineers hold the first of two community town hall meetings in Sweetwater to share the new bridge design, a standard steel structure without the novel design of the first bridge.
May 2023 — FDOT expects to start the construction bidding for the new bridge.
2025 — New pedestrian bridge expected to be finished.