Keeping SIU Carbondale pedestrian bridges safe

Maintaining SIU pedestrian bridges
Updated: Mar. 16, 2018 at 5:16 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - In wake of the pedestrian bridge intended to connect Florida International University to the city of Sweetwater in Miami-Dade county, Florida, two bridges with the same purpose are right here in the Heartland at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The bridge in Miami was still in the process of installation when it collapsed Thursday afternoon, according to Miami-Dade County authorities. So far, there have been six confirmed fatalities in the collapse.

Two bridges at SIU have a similar purpose of connecting student housing to the rest of campus going over US Route 51.

According to Director of Plant and Services Operations Brad Dillard, these bridges were built in 1971 and have seen few complications since their construction.

He said the most significant repairs to the bridge came in 2003, where engineers and contractors essentially chipped away all concrete and railings on one of the bridges down to the steel skeleton to be replaced.

He said those repairs cost the school more than $1 million, but they proceeded anyway on the side of caution.

Other than that, Dillard says the industry standard for maintaining bridges is to inspect them on a biannual basis. However, since there are only the two bridges on SIU campus, they conduct inspection more often than that.

Dillard also said given the current amount of details in the investigation on the pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida, he couldn't make a comment as to what he thought may have caused it.

However, he did say the fact that the bridge was still in the installation process may have played a role.

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