Rebuilding Baltimore’s Key Bridge Expected to Cost Up to $1.9 Billion

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Rebuilding the Baltimore bridge destroyed by a container ship in March will cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, according to Maryland estimates.

Officials are targeting fall 2028 for completing the new bridge, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld said in an interview.

The replacement for the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which originally opened in 1977, will be designed to meet modern safety standards and will not be vulnerable to collapse if a single component fails, Wiedefeld said. Its towers may also be placed farther apart to give ships a bigger buffer, he said.

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Maryland officials said the cost estimates are in line with projects of a similar scale and complexity, including the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge in California, which opened in 2020 and cost about $1.5 billion. The Key Bridge replacement, like the Long Beach bridge, will be designed as a “cable-stayed” span, in which the bridge deck is held up by cables connected to towers.

The federal government stands to be repaid from insurance on the bridge, potentially to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and could receive additional funds from legal proceedings against companies that are found to be responsible for the collision, Wiedefeld said.

The cost estimates and timeline come as a congressional delegation sets out Thursday to survey the wreckage and the stranded Singapore-flagged cargo ship Dali that created it after losing power and slamming into the bridge on March 26.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D- Conn.), the committee’s top Democrat, will be among the lawmakers on hand for a boat tour and briefing from Coast Guard and other officials overseeing the cleanup of debris blocking the main shipping channel to the Port of Baltimore, according to two people with direct knowledge of the event who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the visit, which is closed to the public.

A spokesperson for Cole did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After surveying the disaster site last month, President Biden vowed not to rest “until the cement has dried on the entirety of a new bridge.”

Biden said he intends to have the federal government cover the full cost of rebuilding the bridge – “all of it,” he said – and called on Congress to authorize that effort as soon as possible.

Some congressional Republicans have raised concerns over Biden’s push for funding. Members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers, are seeking concessions in exchange for any new funds for Baltimore.

(c) Washington Post

Source: Matzav

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