The Latest: US DOT to audit ill-fated Florida bridge project

MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at a Florida university (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is ordering her department’s inspector general to audit a pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida last week, killing six people and injuring 10.

The Department of Transportation said in a statement Tuesday that Chao wants to know whether the parties involved in the design, construction and testing of the newly-installed bridge at Florida International University complied with standards required of projects that receive federal funding.

The National Transportation Safety Board began an investigation last Friday. Officials say crews were applying post-tensioning force on the bridge on the day the accident happened, but aren’t clear on whether that caused the bridge to fall. Local authorities have said workers conducted a “stress test” the day of the collapse.

Two people who were injured have filed lawsuits.

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4:15 p.m.

Construction of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six people in the Miami area was behind schedule and millions over budget, in part because of a key change in the design of its main support tower.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the Florida Department of Transportation in October 2016 ordered Florida International University and its contractors to move the bridge’s main pylon 11 feet (3 meters) north to the edge of a canal, widening the gap between the crossing’s supports and requiring new structural design.

The bridge tower was the focal point of an architectural centerpiece for the university that connected it to the nearby community of Sweetwater.

It is unclear if the design change contributed to the collapse, but documents show it pushed the project behind schedule, and some officials worried that delays could jeopardize federal funding.

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