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Nearly 3 years after bridge collapse, FIU transfers money to state to build new pedestrian bridge

Jimena Tavel, The Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI — Nearly three years after a pedestrian bridge over Southwest Eighth Street in West Miami-Dade County collapsed because of a flawed design, killing six people, the construction of a new bridge in the same location is officially moving forward.

The bridge will connect Florida International University's Modesto A. Maidique Campus to Sweetwater's downtown area.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the public university's Board of Trustees approved a transfer of $9.1 million to the Florida Department of Transportation, which will oversee the design and construction of the bridge, along with its connected plaza and walkway.

FIU got the $9.1 million from different sources: $8.5 million from the settlement with the contractors on the failed bridge, about $560,000 of its own original match funds, and $5,560 in match funds previously transferred from the city of Sweetwater.

 

The Miami Herald previously reported that the second bridge would cost $14.6 million (about $2 million more than the first bridge). As of May 2020, FIU planned to also use nearly $3.3 million in federal TIGER grants and other unspecified, unused grants from the state and other agencies to pay for the rest.

FIU financed the first bridge through TIGER grants, which funded transportation plans as part of the Obama administration's stimulus package to help the country recover from the Great Recession. The FDOT awarded $21 million in federal funds for the overall project, but that money got put on hold after the bridge fell.

Last spring, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the green light for the university to access the money again, the Herald reported. DeSantis also authorized the FDOT to "accept responsibility for completing the new bridge and administering the design and construction contracts," according to the FIU board of trustee's resolution approved Tuesday.

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