Skip to comments.NTSB: Group-think and complacency helped bring down the FIU bridge | Opinion
Posted on 11/09/2019 1:24:19 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
A bridge-building disaster should be incomprehensible in todays technical world. Humans have been building bridges for centuries. The science should be well sorted out by now and for the most part, it is.
But the National Transportation Safety Boards investigation of the March 2018 collapse of the FIU pedestrian bridge highlighted basic design flaws and a complete lack of oversight by every single party that had responsibility to either identify the design errors or stop work once it was clear that there was a massive internal failure.
We all know what happened here. But the why is more elusive. None of the responsible organizations had any intent for this tragic event to occur or to cause any injury or loss of life. Sadly, good intentions do not suffice for competence and diligence.
The highest priority now? To truly honor those who lost their lives that day, leaders must quickly implement the NTSBs recommendations, including those issued to the Florida Department of Transportation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc.
Engineering schools will use this as a landmark case study for years and they should.
The engineer of record employed by FIGG was experienced, but his calculations were erroneous. Reflection on this event should go far beyond merely a technical review. The checks and balances that were required by FDOT and ASHTO were completely lacking.
(Excerpt) Read more at miamiherald.com ...
Woke Bridge Broke.
I thought the family owned construction company was going to be investigated.
The article explains the why.
What it didn’t highlight is just who is going to be held legally responsible.
Am I missing something here?
University leadership has escaped scrutiny in this case. Overly aggressive project schedule and a policy of making politically correct hires of contractors and consultants... add that to the mix of what went wrong.
Nobody wanted to rock the boat. Plain and simple. In todays world mavericks are ostrisized and put on far away projects.
“The highest priority now? To truly honor those who lost their lives that day”
Why should you be honored for being squished by a bridge?
Interesting that there’s no link to the actual report....
This is another case of get there itis in slo-mo..
There's no link to a full report because the report hasn't actually been published yet. This summary has been released in the public interest to document the key findings.
I'm astonished at the level of incompetence, omissions and neglect in this process. As a licensed engineer this one item (among 30 that will be included in the report) really jumps out at me:
Louis Berger was not qualified by the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct an independent peer review.
WTF? This sounds like the equivalent of an airline crash investigation where one of the key NTSB findings was that the pilot wasn't licensed to fly.
This is the usual these days—”honor the dead” by failing to clearly identify the individuals responsible and the nature of their responsibility.
Whamen designed that bridge.
Figg Engineering had a solid reputation. Why did they made a stupid mistake? Miami Herald provides a clue:
FIGG which has offices in Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and Pennsylvania was founded 40 years ago by Eugene Figg Jr., a Citadel graduate and structural engineer who is credited with helping to revolutionize bridge development through the use of segmental construction. Eugene Figg died in 2002, and his daughter, Linda Figg, is the firms president and CEO.Lynda Figg's bio has
Linda Figg is President/CEO and Director of Bridge Art for Figg Bridge Engineers (FIGG), a company that specializes in creating world-class bridges by blending state-of-the-art engineering with timeless artistry. Her firm is designing the new I-35 West St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis, Minn., and she serves as the bridge's Visual Quality Manager. Among the bridges designed by Figg Bridge Engineers are two that serve the D.C. Metro Branch Avenue station. The bridges won the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers Grand Award for Engineering Excellence (2001). Bridges designed by FIGG have received over 280 design awards for innovation and beauty, including three Presidential Awards through the National Endowment for the Arts. These aesthetically pleasing bridges have graced the covers of over 200 national and international publications, been featured on five History Channel "Modern Marvels" programs in the past seven years, and have appeared in books on the world's most famous bridges and marvels of the modern world. FIGG pioneered new technologies in bridges that are important to the long-term viability of our nation's infrastructure.Reading between the lines, she was handed the company after Daddy died, and likes getting awards for making things pretty.
Linda serves on the board of directors in the Construction Industry Round Table, an advocacy group comprised of 100 CEOs of America's leading engineering, architecture and construction companies, and the board of directors of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
Figg's passion for aesthetics, sustainability and responsible construction of our nation's infrastructure has led her to focus on improving the quality of life in bridging communities.
A failure case that I’m watching closely is the parking garage in downtown Indianapolis. Sometime about mid-October, a couple in a car on the 4th floor hit the retaining wall around the outside where cars park against. The wall fell away into an alleyway, the car followed it and flipped upside down when it landed and the couple was killed. Yes there is a question of how fast the car was going when it hit the wall.... but have you seen the pictures of how that wall was supported? Sheeeeesh it doesn’t look like it would have withstood a 3 mph bump. If ever I saw an accident waiting to happen, it was that garage. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2019/10/24/city-market-parking-garage-accident-what-we-know-and-dont-know/4081607002/
I have a bit of a special interest in this case.... I had a meeting in downtown Indianapolis a couple of days before and if I had of been in the right lane, I’d have parked there. As it was, I parked around the corner. After seeing the pictures of the failure, I don’t think that I’ll ever look at a parking garage the same way again.
The article didn’t even do a very good job of explaining the why.
No specifics; just reference to a mistake in the engineer of record’s calculations. No discussion of how the shortcoming in the review process specifically occured; just that everybody that had a supervisory responsibility dropped the ball.
Of course, there are huge liability lawsuits in the courts, so the careful, bland text in this article is to be expected. In fact, the last few sentences read EXACTLY like something that would come out of a government agency.
There is alot of groupthink and laziness in our society. One is immediately attacked by the mob of mediocre people, lied about, and accused if one speaks up about shoddy practices.
Here is an executive summary from the NTSB. The complete report is suppose to be out soon.
Maybe, if they were quota hires.
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