Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Lack of oversight by Florida International University, the Florida Department of Transportation, contractors and engineers is to blame for the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge on the school campus in 2018, federal investigators said Tuesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board presented findings and evidence from its investigation of the collapse during a meeting in Washington, D.C. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt blamed the parties involved in the construction of the bridge for not halting work and closing the road beneath when cracks appeared in the days before the collapse.
"Oversight of the project, like the bridge itself, collapsed," he said.
The pedestrian bridge collapsed March 15, 2018, dropping 950 tons of rubble onto vehicles stopped at a red light underneath. Six people died -- including one bridge worker and five people in vehicles -- and 10 others were injured.
The bridge was being built to give students and other pedestrians access between FIU and the city of Sweetwater. It was expected to open in early 2019.
The structure was elevated in one piece to its location March 10, 2018, part of a new building method -- accelerated bridge construction -- that allows a bridge to be built with relatively little disruption to traffic.
NTSB investigators said a faulty design was the likely cause of the bridge's failure. A peer review of the design by FIGG Bridge Engineers also failed to detect the errors.
"The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse was the load and capacity errors," the agency said.
NTSB senior accident investigator Dan Walsh said the Florida Department of Transportation also should have assigned an inspector to site of the project.
"Our recommendations address this issue, that FDOT should have more authority on this type of project," he said during the meeting.
Ultimately, the NTSB said multiple parties involved in the construction of the bridge share the blame for its failure.
"I've been on this board for 13 years and I don't think I've seen [an accident] where there's more finger pointing between the parties. And, you know, the finger pointing is correct ... because everyone shares a piece of this accident," Sumwalt said.
The NTSB plans to issue a full report on its investigation in the coming weeks.