Miami Archdiocese offers prayers after bridge collapse

Engineering firm behind collapsed Florida bridge also designed multiple bridges in Virginia

The bridge collapsed Thursday about 1:30 p.m., crushing vehicles below and killing at least six people and injuring at least 10 others. Miami-Dade Fire Chief Dave Downey said Friday morning they'd exhausted all their search and rescue capabilities and have instead shifted to recovery efforts.

"Why they had to build this monstrosity in the first place to get children across the street?" said an anguished Joe Smitha of Palm Harbor, whose niece, Alexa Duran, was crushed in Thursday's collapse at Florida International University. The bridge fell soon afterward. "We are committed to working with all appropriate authorities throughout this process".

In the case of the Florida tragedy, engineering experts said the question is where was the fatal mistake: in the design of the bridge, in the way its construction was carried out or in the materials used? "My little girl was trapped in the auto and couldn't get out", her father, Orlando Duran, told local press.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is asking the US Department of Transportation for documents related to the "engineering, design, construction, safety and inspection".

Authorities have not immediately determined what caused the bridge to collapse.

At a news conference Friday night, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said they have just begun their investigation, and can not yet say whether any cracking contributed to the collapse.

At a Friday evening press conference, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt said his agency was not aware of the crack and its existence had yet to be confirmed.

It was uncertain if those cracks, observed at the north end of the 950-ton structure, contributed to the catastrophic collapse on Thursday.

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When asked about the cracking, Accetta said: "I would have to say that a crack in the bridge does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe".

MCM is owned by five brothers from the Munilla family, several of them former students at FIU.

Kemp said once the all of the trapped vehicles and victims are completely removed, they will work as expeditiously as possible to remove the remaining rubble. The University City Bridge was built by the Munilla Construction Management and created to survive a Category 5 hurricane. "I don't have words for that", Carol Fraga said through tears.

The 174-foot main span had been assembled on the side of the road, allowing traffic to continue.

Dr. Amjad Aref, a civil engineer at the University of Buffalo's Institute of Bridge Engineering, told the New York Times that the public is generally kept out of the work area when a bridge is being stress tested, as the FIU bridge was. The method is aimed at reducing risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and preventing traffic issues.

Much of the funding for the $14.2 million bridge and its plazas and walkways came from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant.

"Cable-stayed bridges have cables attached directly from the column to the span, while suspension bridges string cables between towers and have other cables descend to the span". Records show the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited MCM for 11 violations involving construction projects in Miami and Hialeah, Florida, between 2014 and 2017.

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