It is generally considered that bridges collapse in third world countries due to poor construction techniques and use of a substandard material. Unfortunately, the United States is not immune to such accidents and an overbridge over a busy highway in Florida has collapsed killing 4 persons and crushing innumerable cars. BBC has reported that the Bridge was part of a new method of construction where the bridge was prefabricated and hoisted over the road to save time and not hamper the traffic.

The bridge

The bridge had been a long-standing demand of the students of Florida International University at Miami. A few months back a student was hit by a car and crushed to death when he was attempting to cross the road. The authorities felt an urgent need for an overbridge for pedestrians and hence a bridge was sanctioned. The bridge was part of the latest technology in construction called "accelerated bridge construction".

The main purpose of this was to avoid traffic disruption. The bridge weighed 860 tonnes was 174 feet long but collapsed in a heap within 6 hours of its erection on Saturday.

President Donald Trump has tweeted that he is continuing to monitor the heartbreaking news of the bridge collapse. The Florida governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio arrived at the accelerated bridge construction scene on Thursday night along with a team of specialist from the national transportation safety board.They will carry out a study of the bridge and try and evaluate any structural defects but all this has come a little too late because 4 people have already died and there is a chance that a few more may also be dead.

A number of cars have been buried under the concrete and eyewitnesses have said that they were hearing heart-rending cries of the people who were trapped in the cars

The collapse of the bridge is a surprise as it incorporated the latest technology. It is not known whether this technology of accelerated bridge construction has been utilized anywhere else. Generally, the students of the Florida International University were very extremely happy with the bridge but now it is back to square one.

Analysis

The construction company has promised to co-operate with the investigation but there appears to have been a structural fault with the design of the bridge. The calculation of load and pressure appears to have been faulty. This will be brought out in the investigation. The design of the bridge may also be faulty but the fact that many people have been Killed and cars crushed is a sad reminder that cutting corners to save time sometimes is not the best of things.

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