Engineers saw cracks in Miami bridge days before collapse

Engineers working on the bridge that fell on to a Florida highway Thursday had attempted to warn state officials about cracks on the walkway just two days before the deadly collapse, according to a voicemail transcript released Friday night by the Florida Department of Transportation.

The lead engineer of FIGG Bridge Engineers, the company that led the design of the walkway, left a voicemail with FDOT that said cracks had appeared on the bridge and were in need of repair.

FDOT published the transcript of the message late on Friday.

"From a safety perspective we don't see that there's any issue there, so we're not concerned about it from that perspective," the transcript reads, "although obviously the cracking is not good and something's going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that."

The state employee who the message was intended for never received it because he "was out of office on assignment," the agency said. The employee "was able to listen to the voicemail" on Friday.

An FDOT consultant also attended a midday meeting on Thursday "shortly before" the bridge's 1:30 p.m. collapse, but he was "not notified of any life-safety issues, need for additional road closures or request for any other assistance from FDOT," the agency said.

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Police lights illuminate the scene of a pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami, Florida on March 15, 2018, crushing a number of cars below and reportedly leaving several people dead. The Miami Herald reported that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the collapsed walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area. The Florida Highway Patrol said several people were killed, according to US networks. Television imagery from the scene showed a crane being moved into position where the bridge lay in sections across Southwest Eighth Street. / AFP PHOTO / Gaston De Cardenas (Photo credit should read GASTON DE CARDENAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Florida Highway Patrol vehicles block off SW 8th Street after a brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Rescuers search through the rubble of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at SW 109th Avenue and 8th Street in Miami. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Rescuers search through the rubble of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at SW 109th Avenue and 8th Street in Miami. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
A brand new, 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed on SW 8th Street, in front of Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Rescuers search through the rubble of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at SW 109th Avenue and 8th Street in Miami. (Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
View of the main span of the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge after collapsing five days after been installed over SW 8 Street-State Road 41 on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: A rescue dog and its handler works at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Rescuers search through the rubble of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at SW 109th Avenue and 8th Street in Miami. (Roberto Koltun/El Nuevo Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A crane is seen near a newly installed pedestrian bridge, that collapsed, over a six-lane highway in Miami, Florida on March 15, 2018, crushing a number of cars below and reportedly leaving several people dead. The Miami Herald reported that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the collapsed walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area and was erected less than a week ago. / AFP PHOTO / AFP TV / Antoni BELCHI (Photo credit should read ANTONI BELCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Vehicles are seen trapped under the collapsed pedestrian bridge that was newly built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
This AFP TV video frame grab shows emergency response workers at a newly installed pedestrian bridge over a six-lane highway in Miami on a college campus that collapsed on March 15, 2018, crushing a number of cars below and reportedly leaving several people dead in Miami, Florida. The Miami Herald reported that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the collapsed walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area. The Florida Highway Patrol said several people were killed, according to US networks. Television imagery from the scene showed a crane being moved into position where the bridge lay in sections across Southwest Eighth Street. / AFP PHOTO / AFP TV / Miguel GUTIERREZ (Photo credit should read MIGUEL GUTIERREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
This AFP TV video frame grab shows emergency response workers at a newly installed pedestrian bridge over a six-lane highway in Miami on a college campus that collapsed on March 15, 2018, crushing a number of cars below and reportedly leaving several people dead in Miami, Florida. The Miami Herald reported that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the collapsed walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area. The Florida Highway Patrol said several people were killed, according to US networks. Television imagery from the scene showed a crane being moved into position where the bridge lay in sections across Southwest Eighth Street. / AFP PHOTO / AFP TV / Miguel GUTIERREZ (Photo credit should read MIGUEL GUTIERREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Vehicles are seen trapped under the collapsed pedestrian bridge that was newly built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
This is the scene at @FIU after bridge collapses. Police moving the media away “just in case the rest falls down.” https://t.co/Vw2wZKraj1
Cars are trapped under the bridge. Police confirm “multiple deaths.” @MiamiHerald https://t.co/0XopSxLibE
This Miami bridge collapse is horrific. These cars have been completely flattened with drivers inside. https://t.co/mZLkGP3DxF
https://t.co/aU0Qm26R2R
#BREAKING: FIU pedestrian bridge collapses onto SW 8th Street https://t.co/Atutvu2LxG https://t.co/6M14zMPmsP
#BREAKING: New FIU pedestrian bridge collapses. @nbc6 for more details. https://t.co/aEfjfhH01D
Prayers FIU bridge collapses #prayersforFIU
my school finished putting up a bridge a few days ago and it literally just fell. my roommate and i heard it from o… https://t.co/GOqOuO0z5P
#BREAKING: Multiple fatalities reported in @FIU pedestrian bridge collapse. @BDITest just deleted this tweet from 3… https://t.co/HsjBpw8498
#BREAKING: Ground-level footage from near where the pedestrian bridge collapsed near Florida International Universi… https://t.co/5koktURDin
#BREAKING: Police confirm “multiple deaths” after pedestrian bridge collapsed near Florida International University.
just drove under the new FIU bridge before it collapsed on the road https://t.co/zmHfB9Z143
https://t.co/WZMcFnPPWE
Police block a road near a newly installed pedestrian bridge, that collapsed, over a six-lane highway in Miami, Florida on March 15, 2018, crushing a number of cars below and reportedly leaving several people dead. The Miami Herald reported that an unknown number of people were trapped underneath the collapsed walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area and was erected less than a week ago. / AFP PHOTO / AFP TV / Antoni BELCHI (Photo credit should read ANTONI BELCHI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Related: Why did Miami bridge collapse? More than one reason likely

Engineers also had a permit that allowed them to close the road under the bridge, the Tamiami Trail, but FDOT said the design team never made the request.

Dick Kane, communications director for FDOT, said that the state agency was not culpable for the possible oversight.

"The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team," Kane said in the FDOT's statement. "At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue."

A representative for FIGG did not have an immediate response to calls for comment.

Related: First victim of Florida bridge collapse identified as FIU student Alexa Duran

National Transportation Safety Board Chief Investigator Robert Accetta said at a news conference Friday night that it was too early to conclude whether the cracks were related to the incident.

"I would have to say that a crack in the bridge does not necessarily mean it's unsafe," he said, though NTSB investigators made it clear that they had not confirmed whether there were cracks. "That's still too early in the investigation for us to determine."

The bridge section that collapsed was designed to hold its own weight until the entire span is assembled into place, experts told NBC News. It was built under a method called accelerated bridge construction, which FIU helped to popularize beginning in 2010 but has been around in some form for about 30 years.

With accelerated bridge construction, prefabricated bridge elements are made in a factory, then shipped to the site and put together at the scene.

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