Florida unveils new bridge design 4 years after collapse

Rush Hour

MIAMI (NewsNation) — More than four years after the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapsed, killing six people on the roadway below, plans for a new bridge are in the works.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation released renderings of the redesigned bridge that will connect the town of Sweetwater with the main FIU campus.

The new design comes four years after the March 2018 tragedy, when the initial 950-ton concrete bridge collapsed during construction, crushing cars on the six-lane highway below.

Federal officials later determined that the bridge had basic construction flaws that should have been caught by the design firm, FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc.

Unlike the old bridge, which was made of concrete, the new pedestrian crossing over Eighth Street will be made with steel girders.

New renderings for the Florida International University pedestrian bridge.

Since the 2018 bridge collapse, infrastructure tragedies have remained top of mind for people across the country. Just last year, a number of high-profile infrastructure failures left dozens dead.

Last June, a pedestrian bridge in Washington, D.C., collapsed, injuring five and trapping cars underneath.

Just one day later, a 12-story condominium building in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed in the middle of the night. By the time search and rescue crews suspended their efforts, 98 people had died.

In November, President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to repair the nation’s aging highways, bridges and roads.

The improvements can’t come soon enough.

Just two months after the bill was signed, a two-lane bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh, stranding a commuter bus and leading rescuers to form a human chain to save its passengers. Coincidentally, Biden was set to arrive in the city just hours later to discuss his infrastructure plan.

Meanwhile, designs for the new bridge in Miami are about halfway done, with the total cost expected to be $15 million — about the same as the old bridge.

The state of Florida will start taking bids in early 2024 and construction will begin shortly thereafter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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