Officials ‘Fully Confident' in Safety of Massachusetts Bridges After Deadly Collapse in Miami

With Thursday's deadly bridge collapse in Florida, officials in Massachusetts are telling residents not to worry about Bay State bridges built using the same process.

FIGG Bridge Engineers, the company that designed the 950-ton pedestrian bridge that collapsed and pinned cars underneath in Miami, also co-designed Boston's Leonard P. Zakim Bridge. Unlike the Zakim, the pedestrian bridge used a technique called "accelerated bridge construction," which has been used for dozens of other bridges in Massachusetts.

The concept involves building most of the bridge off-site before installing it in large pieces. ABC was used to build the new Commonwealth Avenue Bridge in Boston this summer. The idea is to reduce impact on traffic for travelers, such as those driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike below Commonwealth Avenue this summer.

"The accelerated bridge construction project's a financing device, most of the time — sometimes, it's an actual construction process itself, but a lot of times, it's just a financing process," Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Miami was installed in just a few hours. It was scheduled to open near Florida International University's campus.

"The bridges we have in Massachusetts are constantly being inspected," Baker said. "They are being inspected under federal rules and federal standards, and they're being inspected under state standards, as well."

"We have a robust inspection program for the Zakim Bridge and are fully confident in the safety of the Zakim Bridge and all Commonwealth of Massachusetts bridges, as we follow several standards for regular inspections," the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said in a statement.

MassDOT said despite the bridges sharing a designer, the Zakim is not comprable to the bridge that collapsed.

"While the cause of the Miami pedestrian bridge is unknown, the design of this pedestrian bridge is not similar to the design of the Zakim Bridge and is unique to the project site characteristics at its location in Miami," MassDOT added.

Authorities in Florida confirm several people were killed in the bridge collapse.

Florida International University released a statement shortly after the collapse saying they are "shocked and saddened" by the tragic events and are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene.

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