It Could Take Years To Rebuild Collapsed Bridge

It Could Take Years To Rebuild Collapsed Bridge

( – At least one expert is reportedly warning that rebuilding the recently collapsed bridge in Baltimore, MD, could take up to ten years.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge that stretched across the Patapsco River on the outskirts of Baltimore collapsed on March 26 after it was hit by a massive cargo ship. The ship hit one of the bridge’s primary support beams, causing the entire structure to crumble. The incident occurred around 1:30am. Several people were on the bridge when it collapsed, causing around half a dozen deaths.

According to The Washington Post, Pete Buttigieg, the Biden administration’s transportation secretary, said at the White House that the government still hasn’t been able to fully assess the damage to the remaining structure. A small channel has since been cleared for vessels aiding in the cleanup process. No other vessels are currently permitted as the sunken wreckage poses a significant danger to ships. Clearing the channel still means a heavier burden on roadways that are already congested with heavy traffic. The region serves as a significant economic driver to the city and nearby areas. Buttigieg didn’t comment on the timeframe for rebuilding the bridge or clearing the way for ships.

Experts are reportedly estimating months to clear the channel and years to rebuild. Engineering professor Benjamin Schafer said that it’s uncommon to see such a project take fewer than 10 years, according to WaPo. However, he said there is technology to help move the debris out of the way in a more timely manner ahead of rebuilding. Andy Winkler, who currently serves as the director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s housing and infrastructure project, suggested governments at the local and federal levels should declare emergencies to help bypass burdensome regulations regarding competitive bids for the project to help expedite the project. Similar moves have helped speed up similar incidents in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Still, the project is expected to cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

There have been speculations about whether a new bridge could be built to withstand such a blow in the future. Experts are divided on the issue, citing both recent innovations in engineering and a lack of sufficient testing.

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