What would have been a pedestrian bridge is now a makeshift walkway across Southwest Eighth Street along 109th Avenue.
Five days after the 950-ton FIU bridge collapsed and killed six people across from Florida International University’s main campus, officials have reopened the crosswalk at Eighth Street and Southwest 109th Avenue for students to get to and from school on foot. Southwest Eighth Street, between 107th and 117th avenues, is closed to vehicular traffic indefinitely, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
For pedestrians, metal barriers block off the west side of the street from the crosswalk.
Since the FIU bridge collapsed on Thursday, law enforcement officials closed off the heavily traveled road, making drivers circumvent side streets around a lengthy canal to get to campus.
A two-minute commute quickly turned into a 20-minute trek for residents at Tower 109, a student apartment complex just across Eighth Street in Sweetwater.
On Monday, the first day back from Spring Break, FIU students slowly trickled down the crosswalk, just yards from the bridge site.
While the walkway made it easier to get across, it was also eerie for some.
“I walked to campus today because I saw it was open and it’s much faster. But as I was walking I looked at the debris and it hit me: Six people died right here. I don’t think I’ll be walking back. I’m going to take an Uber,” 20-year-old Jacob Peterson said.
Samantha Martinez said the road opening is necessary.
“It’s unrealistic to make us drive all the way around forever,” the junior said.
FHP told the Miami Herald that the pedestrian pathway is under police supervision at all hours. The road will be closed to drivers until further notice.