Bridge Collapse Update

( – Following yesterday’s tragic incident in Baltimore, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, crucial for supporting 33,000 vehicles daily, might need years of rebuilding after a cargo ship collision sent a 1.6-mile section plunging into the Patapsco River.

While state officials have not yet provided repair timelines, experts suggest the bridge could resume operations in several months to four years.

Originally constructed in 1977 for $60.3 million (now $316 million), the bridge took five years to complete. However, depending on factors like underwater foundation conditions, design plans and funding, it could be quicker to reopen.

Joe Biden said that he expects the federal government to cover all the rebuilding bills.

In response, the Army Corps of Engineers has activated its emergency operations center, which deployed over 1,100 personnel to aid recovery efforts and clear the waterway of debris.

With the bridge down, East Coast shipping faces disruptions as companies seek alternative ports. This affects commerce and local residents’ travel plans.

Illinois Institute of Technology engineering professor Gongkang Fu said the first step to rebuilding will be to assess the foundational pieces of the bridge underwater.

“The pieces we don’t see…are more expensive than the pieces we see, normally,” Fu said.

The Director of the Constructed Facilities Center at West Virginia University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hota GangaRao, estimated rebuilding costs at at least $350 million and predicted a two—to four-year timeline.

GangaRao also said that building a temporary bridge over the existing piers would be unlikely as several of them may have suffered damage under the weight of the collapse.

Meanwhile, David Turner from Maryland Governor Wes Moore’s office noted that the repair process will be lengthy and expensive. Moreover, Moody’s Analytics economist Adam Kamins highlighted potential economic repercussions with the Port of Baltimore already suspending some operations.

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