The FIU Bridge Collapse Could Change the Industry – Cotney Construction Lobbying

The FIU Bridge Collapse Could Change the Industry

On March 15, 2018, the Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge collapsed, crushing eight vehicles and resulting in ten injuries and six deaths. In the wake of this tragedy, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the collapse and published its final report on the incident. According to the final report, the collapse was caused by “load and capacity calculation errors,” and “inadequate peer review.” 

Below, we discuss how these findings could have an incredible impact on bridge construction and lead to widespread reform in the industry. If you are concerned that lawmakers are not taking the opinions of contractors into account when discussing and passing judgment on issues that matter to you, consult the industry advocates from Cotney Construction Lobbying. 

Casting Blame 

30 findings were put forth in the NTSB’s final report. However, the NTSB was quick to put the majority of the blame on the company behind the bridge’s design. A consultant firm also came under fire, and, in general, it was said to be a failure on all parties involved to recognize the severity of the growing cracks in the structure. The designers in question refuted these claims, instead blaming construction crews who worked on the project. Finger-pointing is not uncommon when catastrophe hits a construction project, but the reform that may come from the NTSB’s findings are far less common. 

Construction Reform 

Along with assigning blame, the NTSB made numerous recommendations to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) regarding future projects. These recommendations include requiring independent review firms to be qualified, design calculations on certain bridges to be independently peer-reviewed, and traffic to be stopped if cracks appear in a bridge while it’s under construction, to name a few. If acted on, these recommendations could have a significant impact on future bridge projects, especially those like the FIU pedestrian bridge that plan to utilize accelerated bridge construction. 

Related: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Accelerated Bridge Construction

Advocates for accelerated bridge construction are concerned that the FIU bridge collapse will kill momentum for this growing, innovative construction method. Advances in the industry like accelerated bridge construction are crucial for ensuring that construction companies complete projects on-time and on-budget with minimal disruption to commuters. 

Related: Bulldozing Through Congressional Gridlock With a Lobbyist 

The FIU incident is a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when warning signs of an impending tragedy are ignored. There is much to be learned, and lawmakers will be sure to look at this incident from every angle before implementing laws aimed at preventing anything like this from ever happening again. If you would like to voice your concerns regarding the FIU bridge collapse and the NTSB’s recommendations, give us a call at Cotney Construction Lobbying. Your opinion may one day end up on the desk of your representative, and it could forever change the industry. 

If you would like to speak with a construction industry advocate from Cotney Construction Lobbying, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Cotney Construction Lobbying, LLC does not provide legal services and any statements made on this website are intended to apply only to non-legal, lobbying services.