Major Surfside Street at Risk of Collapse if Champlain Tower Parking Garage Walls Topple

A major street in Surfside, Fla. near the site of the Champlain Towers collapse may be at risk of failure, an engineer told city officials.

Structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer wrote a letter to Surfside and Miami-Dade officials warning that Collins Avenue could crumble if the unsupported walls of Champlain Towers underground parking garage topple.

"We believe there is a potentially dangerous situation at the site, where the wall is in danger of collapse," Kilsheimer wrote, according to the Miami Herald and WPLG.

Kilsheimer, who was hired to help figure out why the condominium collapsed last month, recommended building an earthen berm to support the walls near the street and sidewalk.

Otherwise, he said, the movement "could cause portions of the street to collapse and could seriously compromise the utilities under the street."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Surfside Road Collapse
Search and rescue team members climb the debris field of the 12-story oceanfront condo, Champlain Towers South along Collins Avenue in Surfside, Fla., on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. One structural engineer warned city officials that the street near the Champlain Towers collapse could crumble due to the unsupported parking garage walls. Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Miami-Dade County is bringing in crews to help shore up the remaining underground walls, Rachel Johnson, the county's communications director, told the Herald.

"We are moving to procure a company to do shoring and bracing of the walls to assure there is no risk," she said.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal agency investigating the collapse, has been monitoring the site's safety.

Collins Avenue, which is the major thoroughfare on the barrier island, has been closed to traffic near the site since June 24, when the building partially collapsed, killing at least 97 people. Town officials had said Collins Avenue would be opening soon.

In the letter, Kilsheimer said heavy rain would increase the risks substantially because the ground becomes saturated with water.