When Kevin Hanson noticed that the thin cracks veining a crucial connection in the Florida International University bridge had opened into gaping fissures, he pulled out his phone and snapped a few photographs.
It was March 10, 2018, the day the prefabricated bridge had been raised over a busy commuter road.
Hanson, a worker on the site, passed the photos up the chain of command, his lawyers say.
Three days later, the project’s chief engineer reported the cracks to the Florida Department of Transportation, although the engineer said he and his team were “not concerned about it.”
In the end, no one gave the order to shut down Southwest Eighth Street.
And so, when the bridge came crashing down on March 15, 2018, precisely one year ago, Hanson was standing on top. He and other workers had been tightening internal steel rods running through the damaged section of the bridge. The men had no idea the delicate operation could bring the dangerously unstable structure hurtling down in a lethal avalanche of metal and concrete.
Five people waiting in idling cars beneath the 174-foot concrete span were crushed to death. Hanson’s colleague, a Jamaican immigrant named Navaro Brown, who had also been standing on the bridge, died, too.
Hanson survived — just barely.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.