The sudden collapse of the 950-ton Bridge that connected Florida International University to a student housing area took everyone by surprise. At least six were killed and several vehicles were trapped under the debris on the highway following the collapse. It was an under-construction structure and the collapse has left the authorities clueless. The investigators will have to examine whether it was an avoidable incident because of the loss of lives.

New Zealand Herald reports that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Dave Downey has said that the identity of the victims have yet to be established and work was on to clear the debris as a priority.

Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez has termed it as a national tragedy.

The bridge was a matter of pride

The design of the Florida International University Bridge was such that it could withstand a Category 5 hurricane, hence its sudden collapse over a six-lane highway was most unexpected. The bridge had been installed on Saturday and its purpose was to ensure safety for the students while crossing the busy road. It was funded by a grant from the US Department of Transportation and was to have been opened to the public only in 2019. It had undergone structural testing recently and its estimated lifespan had been put at 100 years. Obviously, the untimely failure will raise innumerable questions that will have to be answered.

Details of the bridge

According to Miami CBS Local, the bridge gave way and crumbled down onto vehicles on the highway below. Senator Bill Nelson has indicated that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident. Incidentally, work on its construction started in 2017 and it was expected to be completed in early 2019.

The main purpose of building the bridge was to offer a safe alternative to pedestrians. In fact, it was a part of a larger transportation initiative to provide a safer path for students of the Florida International University apart from local residents. It would have reduced traffic snarls in the area and been a boon to the people in the neighborhood.

NBC News has updated the death toll to six which could rise as the ground is cleared of debris. Reps of the FBI, NTSB, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident in order to establish probable reasons for the tragedy. The bridge was constructed over the seven-lane Tamiami Trail to link the campus of FIU with the town of Sweetwater which is home to about 4,000 students.