Six people died when a brand-new bridge on the campus of Florida International University collapsed.
A brand-new bridge, which apparently had some structural problems. Some photos were taken of the bridge a couple of days before the collapse happened, and very large chasmic cracks were appearing. Clearly there was something wrong in the engineering and construction, but there are questions about the photos the cracks, and whether the collapse could have been prevented.
It comes down to – who knew, what did they know, and when did they know it?
Was it possible that the bridge could have been shut down before the collapse and prevented six deaths? Did the people who could have shut it down been informed? And was the construction just misconduct and negligence, or was it something even more sinister?
The collapse happened in March, but only recently was there a “secret” meeting (not much of a secret though) where several stakeholders got together to discuss the collapse and what could have been done, fi anything. A local newspaper in Miami had to go to court to request notes and information from the meeting but there was conjecture that part of the discussion involved these photos that were taken, who took them and who saw them prior to the collapse, if anyone did?
It is telling that the Florida Department of Transportation, which oversaw the bridge construction project, has been stonewalling the press about the meeting, meaning that a presumption could be made that the department, or someone in it, may have known about the photos and did nothing. Orit could come down to the timing of when the photos were shown and did the department not see them until after the collapse?
Also, who took the photos? Was it a resident? An FLDOT worker or official? Someone from a company who competed for the bid and lost it? Was it someone else entirely who had a vested interest in the project?
Another setoff questions have to deal with the autopsy of the collapse itself. Was this poor workmanship? Did the contractor use low-quality materials to save costs? Was it a rush job? Was the engineering bad from the start? Many of these questions still have to be answered a good five to six months after the collapse, especially the questions of whether the collapse could have been prevented – or whether those six deaths could have been had the right people been notified and went into action.
Deaths are tragic, and especially ones that could have been avoided. These are the deaths that we all hope will have some value to them because they will help in promoting changes to fix whatever failures contributed to these senseless deaths.