Memphis officials say they will learn from FIU bridge collapse

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The tragedy in Florida involving the pedestrian bridge collapse comes as the University of Memphis is preparing to build its own pedestrian bridge that will cross roadways and train tracks.

For years the train tracks between Southern and Walker have been an annoyance for Memphis students and university officials.

The U of M is about to issue the final contract on this project, and university officials said they aren't taking safety lightly.

The bridge itself will cost $18 million.

"I've been late to class because of it," student Adam Denney said.

That's why in 2017 the school announced a $36.6 million project to construct a parking garage, amphitheaters, and a 200-foot long pedestrian bridge that will take students from the garage across Southern, Walker, and the busy tracks.

Construction crews are already on site.

Given what happened in Florida, some students like, Denney, are uneasy and want Memphis to pay attention.

"A closer look, maybe. Spend some more time to look at the finer details of this bridge coming up. Just make sure the math is all there," he said.

"We will all be learning from this and making absolutely sure that we take all precautions for safety during the construction," Tony Poteet, assistant VP of campus planning and design, said.

The U of M said the bridge will be steel supported--not concrete--and the bridge abutments and supporting tower will all be in place before the bridge panels themselves are loaded in.

New reports Friday indicate the FIU bridge was moved into place without its central column erected.

Construction on the Memphis bridge is expected to take 18 months.

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