FIU Bridge Collapse: More Than A Design Flaw

Courtesy of Rachel Miks

The FIU bridge collapse on March 2018 is a tragedy the University population will never forget. But the way FIU has handled the aftermath of the incident is disrespectful and irresponsible, to say the least.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, FIU students and staff members received an email letter from President Mark B. Rosenberg about the tragic accident that affected our community. 

In it, Rosenberg explained that the National Transportation Safety Board held a public board meeting where they concluded that the cause of the collapse was a design flaw “not caught by an independent peer review.”

The cost for the lives lost, however, fell on all parties involved, including our own university.

According to the NTSB, cracks were found on the bridge on Feb. 24. Everyone knew about them, from the contracted engineering group FIGG, to the hired construction company MCM, to the Florida Department of Transportation and, of course, FIU. Nevertheless, FIGG continued to assert it wasn’t a safety issue and the cracks continued to grow.

While the tragedy that ensued was caused by a lack of judgement from all parties, FIU still failed to take responsibility for its actions. It was the University’s duty to close of the road in order to prevent any possible accidents once the cracks had gotten large enough. Instead, however, FIU has displaced the blame from itself; Rosenberg said that FIU “relied on qualified professionals who were retained to design” the bridge.

There was definitely an admittance of guilt, but this should have been said from the very beginning.

Because FIU should have had common sense and responsibility, or err on the side of caution in 2018, the late apology (ish) comes across as hamfisted almost a year later. It not only feels forced, but insensitive to the families of the victims. This isn’t just a tragedy that “should never happen again,” but one that should have never happened in the first place. 

By passing the buck to “qualified professionals” like FIGG, it seems like FIU is saying the University and its staff has no common sense. When cracks are 40 times larger than normal, it doesn’t take a qualified professional to suggest pumping the brakes.

What’s even more of a slap to the face is the mention of a second bridge built directly where the first bridge had fallen.

The memorial FIU plans on making for this second is an insult those who continue to mourn over the loss of their loved ones, since it will stand in front of a reminder of what took their lives. 

If protecting its students, faculty and staff were its priority, the University should have had the foresight to close Southwest Eighth Street long before the day of the bridge collapse. We cannot trust an institution to make our streets safer when it failed to do so just a year and a half ago.

Be the first to comment on "FIU Bridge Collapse: More Than A Design Flaw"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.