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'Instant Bridge' In Miami Collapses, Killing Several

The 'instant' pedestrian bridge being installed in Miami March 10, 2018. Five days later, the bridge collapsed, killing several people trapped underneath.
The 'instant' pedestrian bridge being installed in Miami March 10, 2018. Five days later, the bridge collapsed, killing several people trapped underneath.

Less than a week after a pre-built bridge was installed over a dangerous intersection in Miami, it collapsed and killed several people.

The 950-ton span crushed several cars when it fell on Eighth Street Thursday afternoon, with multiple people killed and more injured, the Miami Herald reports. The span was installed five days before. The bridge was designed to create a safe route for students at Florida International University who live on the other side of the thoroughfare, in the town of Sweetwater.

The bridge was made using Accelerated Bridge Construction, installed over the course of a morning by construction firm MCM Construction and Figg Bridge Design and expected to open next year. The ABC process is being developed at FIU's Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center and received funding from the federal government's TIGER grant program. The 174-foot span was constructed on the side of the road and lowered onto towers on either side of the road.

The Herald reports one of the towers appears to have collapsed to the side, which may have caused the bridge failure.

“In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before,” Figg Bridge Design said in a statement. “Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved.”

MCM Construction told the Herald it planned a full investigation of the incident, whose death toll has yet to be determined. The firm, one of the most prominent contractors in Miami, has been connected to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's ongoing federal investigation.

The bridge, touted as a "first-of-its-kind" by the school in press materials, was expected to cost $14.2M to build. After a student had been killed crossing Eighth Street at the intersection with 109th Street last year, the bridge was hailed as a breakthrough in accessibility for the school.

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully," FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in a statement when the span was installed Saturday. "We are filled with pride and satisfaction at seeing this engineering feat come to life and connect our campus to the surrounding community where thousands of our students live."

Developers had already constructed two apartment buildings on the Sweetwater side of the span, and a third, an 866-unit apartment building, was expected to break ground in June directly in front of the bridge, according to the Herald.