Published by CBS News March 20,2018
MIAMI — Construction of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six people in the Miami area was behind schedule and millions over budget, in part because of a key change in the design and placement of one of its support towers. Documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public-records request show that the Florida Department of Transportation in October 2016 ordered Florida International University (FIU) and its contractors to move one of the bridge’s main support structures 11 feet north to the edge of a canal, widening the gap between the crossing’s end supports and requiring some new structural design.
The span’s signature, 109-foot-tall pylon was to be built atop a footing, or base, at the northern end of the span. In addition to basic support, its design was also aimed at contributing to the aesthetics of the bridge, which itself was touted as an architectural marvel that would span a busy road and canal to connect the rapidly growing university to the nearby community of Sweetwater. In their winning 2015 proposal, designers said the bridge provided “spectacular views” for both pedestrians using the bridge and drivers passing beneath it. And they added that the tower could serve as a safety feature because it provided an “eagle-eyed location” for additional lighting and security cameras.