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FIU says it knew about crack
on the bridge, as did Florida
Department of Transportation

Miami Herald [FL], by Douglas Hanks & Nora Gamez Torres

Original Article

Posted By:KarenJ1, 3/17/2018 9:41:02 AM

Hours before Florida International University’s new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto traffic, the school met with engineers and the state’s Department of Transportation for two hours to discuss whether a crack on the structure was a safety risk, FIU said in a statement Saturday. The disclosure followed a Friday night announcement from DOT that an engineer hired by FIU had called the agency days before the March 15 collapse to flag the crack and say he did not think it was a safety issue. The voicemail message was not received until Friday, according to FDOT. Also in the statement, FDOT said

Comments:
It is stunning to me that they were advised about those cracks and the message wasn´t retrieved until after the bridge collapsed. Why didn´t someone monitor phone calls?? It´s yet another example of the incompetence of government bureaucracy. The engineer didn´t think it was a safety issue?? Good. Grief. They sure are downplaying this to cover their backsides. It won´t work.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: 49 Ford, 3/17/2018 10:13:03 AM     (No. 11574671)

The finger pointing begins...


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Reply 2 - Posted by: 49 Ford, 3/17/2018 10:14:56 AM     (No. 11574674)

...along with the CYA.


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Reply 3 - Posted by: LC Chihuahua, 3/17/2018 10:22:06 AM     (No. 11574687)

Wait and see if the steel came from China.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: earlybird, 3/17/2018 10:23:54 AM     (No. 11574691)

What #1 said.

At least one article the other day mentioned the fact that FIU keeps itself isolated from the other schools of engineering in Florida. Runs its own railroad.

Sounds as though that could be a big part of the problem here. That and the fact that an article (perhaps the same one?) called attention to the grants for projects like this bridge being given for political reasons rather than quality of work.

The latter is covered in this article:

"Collapsed FIU Bridge Was Funded by Federal Grant Program Criticized for Shoddy, Politicized Review Process
The TIGER grant program has come under fire for putting politics ahead of technical concerns.”

https://reason.com/blog/2018/03/15/collapsed-fiu-bridge-was-funded-by-feder

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Reply 5 - Posted by: hpmatt, 3/17/2018 10:25:22 AM     (No. 11574693)

One of the first engineering classes - Statics - analyses loads and stresses, combined with tensile & compression strength of beams, to determine failure. In my mechanical engineering - 40 years ago - we learned this - let alone a civil engineering discipline, where they study this basic stuff IN DEPTH for 3 years.

It is one thing where you can be PC and let in stupid students in soft majors, but doing that where the laws of gravity, material strength, metal properties and at least 75 year old evolved analytical and empirical processes are not learned - will result in death.

Every mechanical engineer knows that if things move in civil engineering areas, something is dreadfully wrong...

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Reply 6 - Posted by: bamboozle, 3/17/2018 10:37:12 AM     (No. 11574708)

Something I don´t understand...this was to be a pedestrian bridge for which I presume the largest weight to be supported was the bridge structure itself. It was designed to be cable supported. The cables which were not yet installed were apparently thought necessary to hold the bridge up, yet no temporary support was provided until the cables and support tower were installed. Oversight? Mistake? Shoddy work? Time will tell.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Pchristopher, 3/17/2018 11:09:22 AM     (No. 11574754)

Oh, they´ll regret admitting that.

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R-TA-Wide_2
  


 
Reply 8 - Posted by: planetgeo, 3/17/2018 11:18:37 AM     (No. 11574767)

You have reached FDOT, if you think we give a crap, press 1, if you speak Spanish, press 2, if it involves an inspection we did that turned out to kill a lot of people and we may lose our pensions, call the following number for a live person to speak with.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: dvc, 3/17/2018 11:34:51 AM     (No. 11574789)

Something was built very wrong. A single, small crack in the concrete, depending on where and how large can be acceptable. Very important WHERE.

Concrete is unable to carry significant tension loads, and all concrete structural designs use steel rebars or pretensioned, or post-tensioned cables embedded in the concrete to carry all the tension loads. The concrete only carries the compression loads and stabilizes the steel rebar/cables. If there is a crack in an area of compression, the loading will close the crack and the structure is not compromised. If there is a crack in an area of tension stress, it could be a sign that some steel that should be on the tension side is missing or misplaced, or that a pre/post tension cable was not properly tensioned and is not carrying the loads it should be, leading to loading the concrete in tension (wrong!) and cracking it.

You can see a bunch of black lumps at each end of the bridge top piece and bottom span in some of the pictures. These would be the ends of the pre/post tensioned cables. Typically they are hydraulically tensioned, then covered. Different designs put the tension into the cables before the concrete is cast or after the concrete is cast. Either can work, so they are called pretensioned or post tensioned, and I don´t know which this design used.

I most worry about missing or improperly located steel inside, although if they failed to tension the cables, or did so inadequately, that is very bad, too. This "stress testing" isn´t clear to me. Not sure what they were doing with that.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: dvc, 3/17/2018 11:37:18 AM     (No. 11574794)

I graduated with two engineering degrees from a different Fla university, one of the top schools in the country for engineering. AFAIK, FIU didn´t even exist at that time.

The "International" part is worrisome to me, not sure what that means.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: earlybird, 3/17/2018 11:49:04 AM     (No. 11574816)

This will end up being a taxpayer-funded boondoggle that took an unknown, as of now, number of lives.

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