Bridge that collapsed designed to withstand hurricane

On paper, the 40-foot wide pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s campus was an engineering feat, boasting several superlatives.

Here are some, as outlined by the university:

It was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Its durability was supposed to exceed 100 years. It’s the first bridge in the world to be constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete: It’s made of titanium dioxide which, when exposed to sunlight, captures pollutant particles from the air and cleans its own concrete surfaces. It was installed in just a few hours just five days ago, although its construction wasn’t finished.

The main span was built nearby to avoid traffic interruption and moved using a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled system that carried and set the 950-ton section. It’s called Self-Propelled Modular Transportation and this was the largest pedestrian bridge in US history to be moved using this method.

At least one person has died as rescue teams search for victims among the rubble of the bridge, officials said Thursday afternoon.

At least eight cars were crushed under the bridge and at least eight people have been transported to hospitals for treatment, authorities said. The bridge’s span was just installed Saturday, an effort to boost safety on a busy street where a FIU student was fatally struck by a vehicle last year.

“The next few hours is going to be a rescue mission,” said Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.