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Florida bridge design differed from Wright State Way over I-675

Thursday’s deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge under construction at Florida International University brought comparisons to — and reassurances about — a high-profile pedestrian bridge over a local interstate.

Authorities continued Friday to seek the cause of the collapse of the unfinished pedestrian overpass that toppled onto the Tamiami Trail in Miami on Thursday, killing at least four people.

In Greene County, the Wright State Way pedestrian bridge over Interstate 675 serves a similar purpose, connecting the Beavercreek and Fairborn sides of the highway.

Local officials noted that Wright State Way was constructed differently than the Florida bridge and appears to be in good condition.

The 950-ton pedestrian bridge that collapsed Thursday near Miami was built using an innovative technique called “Accelarated Bridge Construction.”

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When the Wright State Way pedestrian bridge was built in 2015, only the trusses were prefabricated and shipped to the site on I-675 near Wright State University, according to Beavercreek City Engineer Jeff Moorman.

All of the other work, including the pilings, abutments, piers, bridge decking and railing, were installed separately on site, “much like many other bridges throughout the state,” Moorman said.

“The bridge design, methods and materials used for the bridge in Beavercreek are standard for the industry and have been used successfully at many other locations,” he said.

The Wright State Way bridge, which cost $3.5 million to build, spans 467 feet and is 12-feet wide. It was designed by LJB Inc, a civil and structural engineering firm. It connects the WSU campus and Fairborn to the city of Beavercreek.

The bridge that collapsed in Florida spans 170 feet, and was being built at a cost of $14.2 million. It was done in collaboration between Miami-based contractor MCM Construction and Figg Bridge Design, based in Tallahassee, which also designed the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay. The Florida bridge was to connect the FIU campus for pedestrians to the city of Sweetwater.

Moorman said the Wright State Way bridge is inspected annually, the last in October.

“The report showed all components of the bridge to be in excellent condition,” he said.

At least one ABC bridge has been installed in Ohio. Two sections on I-75 were put in place over two weekends in 2015 to cross over U.S. 6 in Wood County. The work on the $7.8 million project was done by Kokosing Construction Company Inc. and Arcadis, according to ODOT.

ODOT reported the method was preferred because of minimal traffic disruptions and is being used in at least eight states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana.

ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said the project on I-75 is considered an “accelerated construction,” it was “vastly different” than the bridge that collapsed in Florida.

“The construction portion was not accelerated. It was the installation that was accelerated,” Bruning said. “We didn’t lift that bridge at all. It was a lateral slide.”

In addition, Bruning said from what he understands of the Florida bridge’s design, it’s “completely different” than anything in Ohio.

“We don’t have anything within the ODOT system that would match it,” he said.

ODOT inspects every bridge in the state’s network on annual basis. Bruning said the federal standard for bridge inspection is every two years.

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