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The bridge that collapsed near a Florida university was installed in a single morning

Key Points
  • The 950-ton "instant bridge" was assembled nearby and then lifted and lowered into place by special cranes.
  • The bridge had not been fully completed at the time of its collapse.
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.
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The $14.2 million pedestrian walkway that collapsed on Thursday, killing several people near Florida International University, was built in a single morning and praised for its quick and innovative installation method.

The 950-ton "instant bridge" was assembled nearby and then lifted and lowered into place by special cranes, according to the Miami Herald. The process, which only lasted a few hours, was praised by Florida International University for significantly reducing risks to workers, pedestrians and motorists, and minimizing traffic disruptions.

The bridge had not been fully completed at the time of its collapse.

Miami officials: There were workers on bridge at time of collapse

Munilla Construction Management collaborated on the project, along with FIGG Bridge Design, the Miami Herald reported. A Twitter account associated with MCM posted on Twitter condolences for those injured and killed in the accident.

@WeareMCM tweet

The company also promised to cooperate with investigators and determine the cause of the accident.

A Cuban-American family business, MCM did work in Havana, Cuba, before the revolution and won a Pentagon contract in 2016 to help build facilities in Guantánamo Bay, the Miami Herald reported.

According to the Miami New Times, MCM has had legal trouble before, including one incident in which a TSA employee at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was injured after a temporary bridge collapsed.

Juan Perez, director of the Miami Dade Police Department, said the homicide bureau will begin an investigation into the incident, immediately following efforts to rescue potential victims.

You have to prepare, properly inspect new types of construction: Expert

The pedestrian walkway was originally built to keep students safe from the notoriously busy Tamiami Trail that separates the university from the suburban town of Sweetwater. An an estimated 4,000 students live there, the Miami Herald reported.

Traffic along the Tamiami Trail had become such a problem that in February, campus police launched a pedestrian safety initiative, which included issuing fines for disobeying traffic signals and jaywalking, among other things, FIU News reported.

Students and faculty at FIU had long clamored for walkway and were looking forward to its construction, according to FIU News. During the bridge construction on Saturday, a crowd gathered to watch cranes lower the structure into place.

Biology student Roshawn Brown told FIU News he was grateful the walkway would provide fellow students a safer crossing to class every day.

"Having this bridge is a blessing," he told FIU news. "It was amazing to watch something like this, because I've always seen highways and bridges being built, and I've never understood how this is made possible."

MCM and Figg Bridge Design did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

WATCH: Miami-Dade press conference on bridge collapse

Miami-Dade Police press conference on bridge collapse