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NTSB blames Miami bridge fall on design, lack of oversight

National Transportation Safety Board members concluded Tuesday the design firm FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. underestimated the load of the bridge.
FILE - In this March 15, 2018, file photo, emergency personnel respond after a new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a highway at Florida International University in Miami. Federal transportation officials say that Louis Berger Group, Inc., the firm charged with reviewing the design of the FIU bridge that collapsed and killed six people, was not properly qualified by the state.
FILE - In this March 15, 2018, file photo, emergency personnel respond after a new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a highway at Florida International University in Miami. Federal transportation officials say that Louis Berger Group, Inc., the firm charged with reviewing the design of the FIU bridge that collapsed and killed six people, was not properly qualified by the state. [ PEDRO PORTAL | AP ]
Published Oct. 22, 2019

MIAMI — Federal officials have determined a Miami university bridge that collapsed and killed six people showed significant design errors and the state government should have conducted greater oversight because of the project’s complexity.

RELATED: Death toll from FIU bridge collapse up to 6 as crews work to clear the rubble

National Transportation Safety Board members concluded Tuesday the design firm FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. underestimated the load of the bridge and overestimated its strength in a critical section that splintered, dropping a 174-foot-long span onto eight cars.

NTSB's chairman Robert Sumwalt said the cracking observed days before the collapse should have prompted contractors and the Florida International University to close the road but did not. Investigative engineers said the cracks were 40 times larger than what is commonly accepted.

The board also concluded the Florida Department of Transportation should have conducted greater oversight of the project.

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