Family of Bridge Collapse Victim Sues Builders of Bridge
Earlier this month, the collapse of a bridge near Miami’s Florida International University caused the death of six and sent nine others to the hospital. The widow and 15-year-old son of one of the victims has now filed a lawsuit against those responsible for the bridge’s construction. Read on to learn about the case, and contact a Vero Beach, Florida personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by negligent or careless behavior.
The collapse of the 950-ton bridge occurred on Thursday, March 15 at approximately 1:30 pm. Only days before on Saturday, the bridge was set in place above Southwest Eighth Street after having been constructed by the side of the road in the preceding months. The bridge was erected following a process known as accelerated bridge construction, and was the largest pedestrian bridge in the US to have been moved into place that way. The bridge was set in place months ahead of schedule; it was not scheduled to open until early in 2019. Construction was handled by Munilla Construction Management, a large contractor in the region. Munilla partnered with Figg Bridge Engineers who designed the bridge. Figg has designed several other similar bridges in the area, including the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge along Interstate 275.
Two days before the bridge’s collapse, an engineer for Figg had noticed cracking in the bridge. The engineer contacted an employee with the Florida Department of Transportation to let them know about the need to repair the cracks, and added, “from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there.” Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation employee that the engineer contacted was not in the office at the time and did not return until the day after the collapse to hear the engineer’s voicemail.
According to the recently-filed lawsuit, one man who was stopped at a red light beneath the bridge on the morning of the collapse had “heard a sound like a cracking whip coming from underneath the bridge.” He noticed a construction worker look up at the bridge and roll his eyes. The bridge’s engineers and contractors then met for the next two hours to discuss safety concerns, and decided to adjust the tension on tensioning rods located on either end of the bridge.
It was while workers were adjusting the second tension rod that the bridge collapsed. For reasons that remain unclear to the victims, Southwest Eighth Street was not closed to through traffic during this adjustment. The family of one victim, Rolando Fraga, 60, has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the engineers and contractors in charge of the bridge, alleging that the decision not to close the road was a negligent decision with fatal consequences for which the companies should be held responsible.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a Florida injury accident, contact the dedicated and trial-ready Stuart personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Keith Bregoff for a consultation, at 772-492-8967.