“Construction crews were applying post-tensioning force that is designed to strengthen the diagonal member,” he said.
During the news conference, officials were asked about possible cracks in the structure. They said at this time, they have not confirmed that on their own.
Friday night, the Florida Department of Transportation released the transcript of a voicemail left Tuesday by the lead engineer with FIGG, the firm that designed the bridge. The engineer, Denney Pate, said there were cracks in the concrete.
“Um, so, uh, we’ve taken a look at it and, uh, 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,” Pate said.
FDOT said in their release that no one in the office heard the voicemail until Friday, a day after the collapse.
Additionally, FDOT said that neither FIU nor the engineering firm ever warned them of any “life-safety issue.”
NTSB investigators were also asked about the cables shown in the photo renderings of what the bridge would look like when complete. In those depictions, the cables spread across the upper portion of the bridge much like the sail of a boat. Investigators said from their understanding, those cables “were only cosmetic; they were not structural members.” They had not been installed at this point because the second part of the bridge had not been built or installed.
Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alejandro Camacho said that Southwest Eighth Street between Southwest 107th Avenue to Southwest 117th Avenue will remain closed indefinitely as the recovery efforts and investigation continue.
Sumwalt said they expect NTSB investigators to spend between five and seven days at the scene.
“That’s really just the beginning of our investigation because there’s a lot of work that goes into this,” he said.