The two firms behind the FIU 'instant bridge' collapse that left at least six people dead has had some of their shady history come to light. Details including past engineering failures, inspection fines, and accusations of hiring careless and unskilled workers are being revealed.
The pedestrian bridge at FIU was expected to open late this year and was designed to help students cross a busy intersection without impacting street traffic. The construction was scheduled to be a quick build, a collaboration between two Florida companies: MCM Construction from Miami and Figg Bridge Design based in Tallahassee.
"Innovations take a design firm into an area where they don't have applicable experience, and then we have another unexpected failure on our hands," Robert Bea, a professor of engineering and construction management at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Associated Press after reviewing the bridge’s design -- and the pile of rubble it was reduced to on Thursday afternoon.
Investigators are working to find out why the bridge failed after being installed for only five days. Preliminary assumptions are on the stress tests being conducted at the time of the collapse. Two workers were on top of the bridge when it fell on cars waiting at the intersection stoplight.
The FIU collapse is not the first accident for either company.
Figg was hit by the Virginia Department of Labor in 2012 after a concrete slab weighing 90 tons fell from a bridge being built in Norfolk
MCM Construction is CURRENTLY defending itself from a lawsuit filed this month claiming that they hire "incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled or careless employees." This suit is stemming from an incident where a worker was injured when walking across a makeshift bridge that collapsed under his weight at a construction project at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
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