July 23, 2018
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State: Maine bridges designed by same firm as collapsed Miami bridge are safe

Wilfredo Lee | AP
Wilfredo Lee | AP
Workers stand next to a section of a collapsed pedestrian bridge, Friday, March 16, 2018 near Florida International University in the Miami area. The new pedestrian bridge that was under construction collapsed onto a busy Miami highway Thursday afternoon, crushing vehicles beneath massive slabs of concrete and steel, killing and injuring several people, authorities said.
By Lori Valigra
Updated:

The Maine Department of Transportation reassured Mainers Friday about the safety of state bridges designed by the same engineering company that designed a Miami-area bridge that collapsed this week.

The collapse of the pedestrian footbridge near Florida International University crushed at least five cars and killed six people, according to the Sun Sentinel, which quoted police as saying more fatalities could be discovered.

The newspaper said the bridge was put in place last Saturday and was to be completed in 2019. The investigation into the cause of the collapse started Friday.

Figg Engineering Group of Tallahassee, Florida, one of the companies that designed that bridge, also has been involved in several bridge designs in Maine. They include the Donald E. Davey Bridge between Wiscasset and Edgecomb, the Sagadahoc Bridge between Bath and Woolwich, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge between Prospect and Verona Island, and the fixed spans of the Sarah Mildred Long bridge between Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“These bridges were designed in accordance with the latest national design standards and are all in very good condition. MaineDOT’s experience with Figg is that they are experienced and competent bridge designers and we are confident that these bridges are safe,” MaineDOT spokesman Ted Talbot wrote in a statement released Friday afternoon.

“MaineDOT’s bridges are safe and will continue to be evaluated based on the latest National Bridge Inspection Standards. Due to the investigation being in its early stages, we, along with the rest of the nation, do not know the cause of the bridge collapse nor will we speculate,” he said.

He said the Florida bridge used accelerated bridge construction, or innovative design and construction techniques widely employed in bridge construction to reduce onsite construction times to avoid associated impacts.

“Because it refers to a variety of techniques, and not a specific bridge or construction practice, it is difficult to correlate the Florida bridge with Maine’s bridge inventory,” Talbot said.

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