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South Florida Pedestrian Bridge Collapse Forensic Investigation

Scott Nacheman and Perry Pinto
August 10, 2022
Session Details

Session Length:  1.5 Hours

On March 15, 2018, a 175-foot-long post tensioned concrete pedestrian bridge collapsed over US Route 41 in southeastern Florida, resulting in six fatalities and injuring eight others. The bridge utilized a unique sculptural design incorporating a concrete truss and was constructed using the Accelerated Bridge Construction technique. The structure was intended to provide safe passage over an 8-lane highway to the nearby neighborhood. The authors’ team mobilized to the collapse site on March 18, 2018 on behalf of their client, one of the major insurance carriers for a member of the bridge project team. The investigation team was tasked with documenting the post-loss condition of the bridge, performing a detailed structural analysis to determine the cause and origin of the collapse, evidence collection, and developing conceptual repair/retrofit design options.

This presentation will discuss the design of the bridge, the status of construction immediately prior to the collapse, the on-site investigation and analysis performed by the authors when tasked with determining the cause and origin of the failure, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) findings, and the results of the NTSB investigations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the failure mechanism that led to the collapse and the errors in the design methodology and construction documentation that resulted in the failure.
  • Identify important steps to take as the designated design professional when notified of construction problems or unexpected conditions in the field.
  • Identify lessons learned from the loss event and best practices that can be deployed to avoid similar loss events.


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