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Transportation

An 'Instant Bridge' Collapses Near Miami, and Many Questions Remain

Florida International University’s new pedestrian bridge was state-of-the-art. On Thursday, the new span failed, killing six.
A pedestrian bridge collapsed days after it was built over Southwest Eighth Street, allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University.
A pedestrian bridge collapsed days after it was built over Southwest Eighth Street, allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University.WTVJ NBC6 via AP

On Saturday, officials at Florida International University in Miami-Dade County celebrated an “engineering feat come to life”—a 174-foot pedestrian suspension bridge designed to link the vast FIU campus with the neighboring city of Sweetwater, where many students lived in off-campus housing. Spanning eight lanes of traffic, FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge was supposed to give students a safe way to cross a busy roadway—an FIU student was killed by a car while crossing Southwest Eighth Street last year—while also providing a new campus amenity. Plans called for the wifi-equipped structure to boast a shaded deck, benches and seating, and plazas at either end.

“Not only is it a bridge, it’s a place,” Robert Herrada, Sweetwater’s director of operations, told the Miami Herald in August. “This is place-making.”