An engineer of the company that designed the faulty pedestrian bridge warned the Florida Department of Transportation of cracks to the structure in a voicemail, but said the company was "not concerned" from a "safety perspective."
Denney Pate from the FIGG Bridge Group left the voicemail on Tuesday. FDOT employees did not listen to the voicemail until Friday – the day after the bridge near Florida International University collapsed, killing six people.
FDOT released a transcript of the voicemail Friday:
“This is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers. Calling to – share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend,” Pate said. "We’ve taken a look at it and – obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that. At any rate, I wanted to chat with you about that because I suspect at some point that’s gonna get to your desk. So, uh, at any rate, call me back when you can. Thank you. Bye.”
Authorities are working to investigate the cause of the incident.
Two of the six victims have been identified. Authorities are slowly removing the debris, looking for more victims.
"At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue," FDOT said in a statement. "Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse."
FIGG released a statement over the voicemail in which it said it would "pursue answers to find out what factors led to this tragic situation."
"The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues," FIGG wrote. "It is important that the agencies responsible for investigating this devastating situation are given the appropriate time in order to accurately identify what factors led to the accident during construction."
But FIU said representatives from the University -- as well as officials with FIGG, MCM and FDOT -- convened during a meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday morning to discuss the crack. FIU said the FIGG engineer concluded the crack didn't present safety concerns and "did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge."
During a press conference, the National Transportation Safety Board said that cracks to the bridge – cracks which the NTSB stressed they had not yet verified – may not necessarily have made the structure unsafe. The NTSB said it would work to determine all facts related to the cracks mentioned.
Munilla Construction Management, which was building the bridge, has not yet released a comment.
Please check back for updates to this developing story.