By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
UPDATE 5/23/18 NTSB confirms knowledge of cracks on trusses:
The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a preliminary report on their website confirming the existence and knowledge of cracks in the support structures of the bridge as early as Saturday,Feb. 24, weeks before the bridge was put up.
“The NTSB is evaluating the emergence of cracks in the region of diagonal members 2 (south end
of the bridge) and 11 (north end of bridge), see figure 3, and the propagation of cracks in the region of
diagonal member 11,” read the report.
The report also confirmed that on Thursday, March 15, the day of the incident, construction crews were re-tensioning the number 11 truss, the structure which was noted to have cracks.
The Board will be conducting further examination of the components of the bridge and testing of the materials that went into its construction, according to the report, but they have yet to pass any judgement about whether the cracks on the trusses were the cause of the collapse.
New information has been released about the collapse of the University’s pedestrian bridge, including photos of cracks along the supports of the bridge that were discovered 10 days before the bridge was placed, according to an article by the Miami Herald.
Jose Morales, a consulting engineer for FIU, sent out a memo on Feb. 28 in which he points out that the cracks showcased in the photos were concerning and required attention. This memo was released to the Herald after a public record request, the article states.
The investigation is still being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board to identify the exact cause of the bridge collapse, and has asked that FIU and the Florida Department of Transportation not release records dated after Feb. 19, according to an email sent to the University community on April 26 from Carlos B. Castillo, FIU’s general counsel.
The Feb. 28 memo, according to the Herald, was released accidentally during the public records request.
The diagonal cracks, which were located on the No. 11 support truss, were discovered “in the bridge earlier than officials have previously acknowledged,” according to the article.
The article also cited experts stating that the failure of a single piece could have had the entire bridge fall under its own weight due to its truss-type design.
This new information may shed some light as to why the bridge collapsed over Southwest 8th St. on Thursday, March 15, with a death toll of six motorists, including an FIU student, Alexa Duran. The bridge was placed across 8th St. on Saturday, March 10, to act as a pedestrian walkway for students and visitors to access the University and the City of Sweetwater.
PantherNOW will continue to update this article as more information becomes available. You can also check out our previous coverage of the bridge tragedy here.
Featured image courtesy of the NTSB