South Norfolk Jordan Bridge Collapse Link to Florida Tragedy
We were horrified to read about the collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Florida that led to six deaths this week. Reports revealed how one of the companies involved in the construction was fined over the South Norfolk Jordan bridge collapse here in Hampton Roads.
A pedestrian bridge being built near Florida International University was meant to enhance safety allowing cyclists and walkers to cross a busy eight-lane street more safely after a vehicle killed an FIU student, reported CNN.
Instead, the bridge collapsed on Thursday a few months before a scheduled opening, crushing vehicles below it. The bridge collapse left six people dead while investigators tried to find out who was responsible for the accident.
The six victims were found dead in the rubble, according to Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey.
Others were injured but it’s not clear how seriously. Downey said more than 10 injured people were removed from the bridge collapse scene. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the deceased and the injured.
The $14.2 million bridge unexpectedly collapsed onto a busy Miami highway during construction crushing at least eight vehicles under massive slabs of concrete and steel.
The bridge was expected to open to pedestrians next year. The 950-ton structure was assembled by the side of the highway and finally moved into place Saturday.
This tragic accident will surely lead to a review of the so-called “accelerated bridge construction” method that was meant to reduce risks to workers and pedestrians and curtail traffic disruption.
A report in the Virginian-Pilot noted the link between the Florida bridge collapse and an accident on the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge. Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Engineers was involved in both projects. The company received a citation from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry alleging FIGG did not properly inspect a girder and failed to obtain written consent from its manufacturer before modifying it, the Pilot reported.
In 2012, the company was fined $28,000 for an incident in which a 90-ton section of the South Norfolk Jordan Bridge fell in Chesapeake onto railroad tracks below, causing minor injuries to four workers.
The South Norfolk Jordan Bridge collapse was not nearly as serious as the incident in Florida. Fortunately, nobody was below the section that collapsed at the time. However, it significantly delayed the bridge construction.
However, these incidents raise questions about this method of construction as well as the state of bridges in the United States. More than a decade ago, Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis unexpectedly collapsed into the river sending cars and a school bus plummeting. The crash killed 13 and injured 145.
There are many dangers at construction sites. If you have been harmed on the roads or bridges of Virginia, please call our Hampton Roads injury lawyers at (757) 333-3333.