Did ABC Lead to Fatal Collapse?

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Accelerated Bridge Construction, or ABC, is an approach to building bridges. It is usually carried out off to the side of the eventual location for either a replacement or new bridge construction. It was developed as a way of cutting down on the time of on-site construction work. Shutting down a roadway for an extended period of time is often unfeasible and often has a detrimental impact on surrounding businesses or residential areas. By conducting much of the construction of a new structure in an adjacent area, construction can be carried out with little impact on the surrounding geography. This method is not a cost-saving method as it is often costlier to move the structure into place when off-site construction is complete.

ABC has been carried out throughout Europe for decades and has been used in this country since the early 2000’s. The only reason this type of bridge construction is now newsworthy is due to the tragic collapse that occurred in Florida in mid-March.

The pedestrian bridge was built to connect Florida International University with a popular Sweetwater neighborhood where many of the school’s students resided. Florida is notorious for its dangerous crossings and its high numbers of pedestrian deaths. After another student was killed while trying to cross the highway, City and FIU officials came up with the idea of building an elevated walkway in order to protect the students from the dangers of speeding automotive traffic.

Sadly, while the completion of the bridge was awaited with much anticipation, the colossal failure has plunged the state into mourning. The structure was moved into its final position in the early hours of the Monday before the collapse. Just a day later, an engineer discovered cracking appearing along the support structures. He reportedly made a phone call to officials to tell them of the cracks, but the message was not received before the structure failed. As workers were attempting to complete the bridge and ready it for its official opening, it failed and collapsed in a heap of twisted concrete and wires onto the highway below.

While the bridge was not open to foot traffic at the time, there were several workers on site. There was also a regular traffic flow at the time of the failure. Vehicles were crushed in the rumble and several people were trapped. When the search and rescue operations were finally completed, it was determined that six people died in the collapse with several more suffering serious injuries.

In the days since this tragedy, several pieces of information have trickled out. One of which concerns one of the two companies involved in the building of this bridge. The company, FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. has had a history of structure failures, though none of the previous problems were on the scale of this tragedy.

I am sure that the investigators will eventually determine what went wrong, but in the end, the lives that were lost will never be replaced and the difference they could have made will never come to pass.

Writer Bio:  Angela Mose

I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years.  I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia.  A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.


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