Engineer Reported Cracks in Florida Bridge Days Before Deadly Collapse But Didn’t Think It Was a Safety Concern

This March 10, 2018 image shows an early morning view of the main span of the a pedestrian bridge as it was being positioned to connect the City of Sweetwater, Fla., to Florida International University near Miami. / The Miami Herald via AP, FILE

An engineer at the firm that designed the ill-fated Florida International University pedestrian bridge left a message for a state transportation official days before the deadly collapse, saying that he had observed a crack in the bridge — but the message wasn’t heard until after the span fell, officials said.

The worker at FIGG Bridge Engineers left a landline voicemail for an employee of the Florida Department of Transportation on Tuesday, saying he saw some cracking on the bridge but was not concerned from a safety perspective, according to FDOT.

The employee for whom the message was intended was out of the office on assignment and didn’t retrieve the message until he returned to the office on Friday, said FDOT officials who released the recorded message and a transcript.

“Calling to, uh, share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend,” the FIGG engineer said in the message.

“Um, so, uh, we’ve taken a look at it and, uh, obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that.”

FDOT said the FIU design-build team has solely responsible to identify and address life-safety issues and to notify DOT.

“At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue,” FDOT said in an email Friday.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Rex Sakamoto