Federal transportation safety investigators are looking into cracks that appeared in a critical structural support piece in the Florida International University pedestrian bridge days before it collapsed, according to a preliminary report issued Wednesday.
The brief four-page report from the National Transportation Safety Board confirms that cracks on a diagonal truss support — identified in plans as No. 11 — raise concerns about the span's structural integrity. The cracks developed before the bridge was lifted into place on March 10. It collapsed on March 15 onto the busy Tamiami Trail, also known as Southwest Eighth Street, killing five motorists and a construction worker.
Independent engineers who have examined bridge plans released by FIU and the state have zeroed in on the No. 11 support at the span's north end as a potential key contributor to the collapse, saying it may have been poorly designed and not strong enough for the stresses it was meant to withstand. Some engineers consulted by the Miami Herald say the cracks may have been a telltale sign of serious structural problems.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.