FIU Pedestrian Bridge Collapse - RI ASCE May Lunchtime Live Stream

When:  May 20, 2021 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (ET)
Associated with  Rhode Island Section

Bridge Failures – Lessons Learned

This presentation provides a brief overview of 6 catastrophic bridge failures that have occurred in the United States over the past century and the subsequent valuable lessons learned by bridge engineers including wind loading, harmonics, fatigue, redundancy, erosion, scour and the importance of routine bridge inspection and maintenance. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the FIU Pedestrian Bridge collapse including the findings and recommendations provided by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation.

Presented by: Ralph Verrastro, P.E.

Ralph Verrastro, PE specializes in the design, inspection, evaluation, technical supervision, and quality assurance/quality control for new and rehabilitation bridge projects. He graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering from Cornell University in 1976. His career includes bridge design experience throughout the United States and he is a registered Professional Engineer in 37 states. Mr. Verrastro is a technical expert in the use of fast-track repair/replacement methods using prefabricated bridge components also known as Accelerated Bridge Construction. He has extensive experience in the evaluation and repair of bridges including historic metal truss bridges and concrete arch bridges. He served as the Specialty Structural Engineer for hundreds of bridge structures throughout the USA working as a consultant to precast concrete manufacturers. He has provided technical presentations on engineering topics at industry conferences including the International Bridge Conference and National Accelerated Bridge Construction Conference. Mr. Verrastro was selected as the Engineer of the Year by the Florida Engineering Society in 2018.

Featuring special appearance by ASCE 2021 President Elect
to Induct Your RI Section Officers

Dennis D. Truax, Ph.D., P.E., DEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, F.NSPE

Dennis D. Truax is the James T. White endowed chair, director, and professor of Richard A. Rula School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Mississippi State University. He is also the director of the Mississippi Transportation Research Institute. Now in his 41st year on the Mississippi State faculty, Truax has worked on environmental and water resource management systems throughout the world. 

He is a licensed professional engineer and holds national certifications as an environmental engineer from American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists and as a water resources engineer with American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. He was elected as a fellow of ASCE in 1999 and a fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers in 2016. 


Virginia Tech’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni selected Truax to receive the 2021 Virginia Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumnus of the Year. In 2020, ASCE awarded him the Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award along with inducting him to the ASCE Region 5 Wall of Fame. Then in 2019, the National Council of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Surveyors awarded him the Distinguished Professional Service Award. Additionally, he is one of two chapter honor members of the Mississippi State University Chapter of Chi Epsilon.

He holds or has held national leadership positions with NSPE, NCEES, and ABET. He’s in his 13th year on Mississippi’s Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors, having served as board president twice and serving has chair for most of his 11 years on the state’s Onsite Wastewater Advisory Council.

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