Only a few hours before a pedestrian bridge collapsed in Florida, contractors and other officials met to talk about cracks that were noticed at one end of the bridge. Figg Bridge Engineers knew that there was cracking evident, but nothing was done to try to correct the issue before it collapsed. A contractor did make phone calls to engineers and city officials a few days before the collapse, but the calls were unanswered. The contractor left a voicemail that wasn’t heard until Friday morning, a day after the collapse.
During the meeting before the collapse, there were no concerns expressed about the safety of the bridge or whether the cracks would pose a problem. Members of the Department of Transportation were a part of the meeting, and they did not offer any kind of concern about the cracks noticed in the bridge. W. Denney Pate conducted the meeting. He is an engineer for the company that was hired to construct the bridge. He is also the man who left the voicemail about the cracks that were discovered.
When discussing the cracks, Mr. Pate didn’t believe that there were any significant issues and that even though the cracks would need to be repaired, they likely wouldn’t pose any kind of setback for the opening of the pedestrian bridge in only a few days. Unfortunately, the bridge did collapse later in the afternoon. There is no clear indication as to what exactly caused the collapse. Engineers and officials with the Department of Transportation have started an investigation as to which area of the bridge was weak or if there were possibly any issues with the construction equipment being used to build supports for the bridge. Several cars were crushed or trapped under the rubble, and at least six people died as a result of the collapse.