The construction firms tasked with building a pedestrian bridge in Florida that collapsed Thursday previously garnered legal trouble for shoddy safety practices that put people at risk, the Miami New Times reports. The incident Thursday, where a pedestrian walkway collapsed at Florida International University in Miami, led to "multiple" deaths, authorities have said.
The bridge collapsed atop an eight-lane highway, crushing cars and sending at least six people to the hospital. Officials have not yet confirmed the number of people killed by the fall of the bridge, which was installed just days ago.
Two major construction firms involved with the bridge — Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Group — have been accused of unsafe practices. The Miami New Times reports that a local airport employee filed a lawsuit last week after an MCM-constructed bridge "broke under [his] weight." The employee's lawyer says he suffered "multiple broken bones" due to MCM's "shoddy work."
FIGG, meanwhile, was hit with a major fine from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry after a 90-ton section of concrete fell 40 feet onto train tracks below a bridge construction site. Only minor injuries were reported, but officials found that the company had violated safety laws in the construction.
MCM tweeted a response to Thursday's events, announcing it would conduct an investigation into "exactly what went wrong." FIGG issued its own statement saying that the company was "stunned" by the collapse.
The FIU project was touted as an "instant bridge," constructed using "accelerated bridge construction," which allows components to be assembled alongside the highway to reduce installation time. Read more at the Miami New Times.