Method used to build collapsed pedestrian bridge being used here in Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Transportation has released a full statement after a pedestrian bridge in Miami, which utilized the same Accelerated Bridge Construction method being used here in Memphis, collapsed, killing at least six people.

“The Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) projects completed or underway in Tennessee have all utilized very traditional bridge designs, such as I-Beam or Box Beam. For these projects, the acceleration is mainly in the method the bridge is put into place. The projects require complete road closures, large amounts of equipment and manpower to complete the phases of work, and a rigorous inspection process.

The FIU bridge appears to be a unique design, with the final support columns and the suspension cables yet to be installed. As with any large construction project, there are risks associated with partial construction.

There will be an intensive investigation by multiple federal agencies to determine what caused such a catastrophic failure. Since we do not yet know whether the collapse was caused by a design issue on the front end or an issue related to ABC, it is too early for TDOT to determine whether any changes to our processes will be appropriate. Following the investigation into the FIU collapse, the National Transportation Safety Board will issue any recommendations to other bridge owners such as the nation’s state departments of transportation.”

On Thursday, WREG learned TDOT is using the method to replace several bridges over I-240, including two over Poplar Avenue and one over Park Avenue. We’ve also learned a Memphis-based “transport specialist” company was part of the team putting the Florida bridge in place. Barnhart Crane and Rigging has corporate offices on Airways.

The company said they were contracted to move the bridge into place, but was not involved with the design or construction of the bridge.  They said their part of the work was completed without incident.

We also asked TDOT if they have or are using Barnhart for the projects in Memphis and have not received a response.

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