Cracks that appeared in the Florida International University bridge days before it collapsed were far more extensive than previously disclosed, according to photographs included in a preliminary report issued Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The photos show four alarming-looking cracks — one at least 3 1/2 inches deep into the bridge’s deck — developing in precisely the section of the span that is believed to have failed on March 15, killing five motorists and one worker.
Given the size of the cracks, the photos raise new questions about why officials at FIU, the Florida Department of Transportation and the private contractors running the project did not seek to shut down the busy road underneath the bridge.
The cracking appears far wider and more severe than smaller cracks that appeared in the bridge before it was lifted into place above Tamiami Trail on March 10, according to Linwood Howell, a Texas-based bridge engineer not affiliated with the project who has studied its plans and construction since the collapse.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.