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FIU Pedestrian Bridge Collapse Investigation - Gary J. Klein, WJE, Inc.

  • Thu, May 13, 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


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  • This is a person who is not a member of SEAMi or NCSEA.

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Abstract: The FIU pedestrian bridge design employed a post-tensioned concrete deck and canopy connected by structural concrete columns and diagonals along the centerline to form a two-span continuous truss. On March 15, 2018, the main span of the bridge collapsed due to a connection failure at the north end shortly after the main span was positioned on its permanent supports. WJE investigated the collapse for the bridge designer, FIGG Bridge Engineers.

The presentation describes how the collapse occurred and includes a design review of the failed connection relative to the requirements of the AASHTO LRFD code. The presentation compares results of interface shear transfer testing of full-size replicas of the deck connection with two levels of surface preparation: 1) an as-placed surface as observed by FHWA/NTSB and 2) roughened in accordance with the project specifications. Contrary to NTSB findings, this testing showed that the primary cause of the collapse was the contractor’s failure to roughen the surface as required by the project specifications.

Gary J. Klein Brief Biography:

Gary Klein is a Senior Principal and Executive Vice President of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) in Northbrook Illinois. For almost 40 years, Mr. Klein has studied and delivered solutions for buildings and bridges suffering from deterioration, distress or failure.  He has investigated numerous structural collapses including the 1981 collapse of the sky walks in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel, the 1996 collapse of the KB Bridge in the Republic of Palau, and the 2018 collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian Bridge. 

Mr. Klein received his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Mr. Klein is an honorary member of the American Concrete Since. 1995, Mr. Klein has been a member of the American Concrete Institute building code committee. 

Mr. Klein has authored more than 40 papers related to his structural investigation practice and research work, and has received numerous awards. In 2016, Mr. Klein was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for investigations of national and international infrastructure and conveying knowledge from these investigations to the profession.”

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