At Least Four People Dead After Pedestrian Bridge Collapses Near FIU

posted by RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter -

Authorities say at least four people have died after a pedestrian bridge near Florida International University collapsed. 

Several cars were underneath the bridge and there were workers on the bridge according to Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue. 

The deceased have not been identified pending notification of family. 

Emergency workers found eight cars pinned by the massive slabs of concrete that collapsed on them. Urban search and rescue teams along with search dogs and heavy equipment are on scene and will remain there through the night

The 950-ton bridge spanned 174 feet and was scheduled to open to the public next year. The 32-foot wide bridge stood 110 feet high and was built to help students safely cross the busy roadway below. It was also meant to serve as a gathering and study area for students. The planned walkway was meant to connect the FIU campus to the town of Sweetwater where around 4,000 students live. 

“We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge," the university said in a statement. “At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information."

President Donald Trump thanked rescue workers for their efforts and offered prayers for those affected. 

Continuing to monitor the heartbreaking bridge collapse at FIU - so tragic. Many brave First Responders rushed in to save lives. Thank you for your courage. Praying this evening for all who are affected.

According to a post on FIU's website, the bridge cost $14.2 million to build and was funded by a $19.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

According to the site, the bridge was built using "Accelerated Bridge Construction" (ABC) methods which are being developed at the university's Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transport Center (ABC-UTC). 

The univerity says the new methods "reduce potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and minimizes traffic interruptions." 

The chair of FIU's Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Atorod Azizinamini called the bridge's construction a milestone last week. Mayor Orlando Lopez called the FIU-Sweetwater bridge a "visually distinctive gateway to our city," and that "This bridge is symbolic of the growth our city is experiencing and our partnership with FIU." 

The University released a time lapse of the bridge's construction in a press release last week.  

Photos: Getty Images

This is a breaking news story. More details will be added as they become available. 

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