Department of Transportation Estimates Cost of $1.7 Billion to Rebuild Baltimore Bridge

Following the long-awaited reopening of the federal channel in the Port of Baltimore after the infamous shipping accident in March, the Biden Administration’s Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that it will cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

As ABC News reports, the work to remove debris from the collapsed bridge and the damaged vessel culminated in the reopening of the McHenry Federal Channel to a passage of about 700 feet wide and 500 feet deep, allowing traffic to flow through the harbor once again. Workers will continue removing debris within an established safety zone, and deep draft vessels are required to have a single-escort tug until the cleanup work is completed.

On March 26th, the Indonesian cargo ship Dali struck the bridge in the early morning hours, causing a near-total collapse of the bridge that resulted in the deaths of six workers. The ship has remained in the harbor, where it was eventually refloated and removed from the crash site on May 20th.

According to Major General Butch Graham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, workers have removed at least 50,000 tons of steel, which is equivalent to about 3,800 fully-loaded dump trucks. The cleanup crews – consisting of crane operators, divers, mariners, and salvage workers – have been working on and below the Patapsco River since March 30th.

On Wednesday, the White House released a statement acknowledging the efforts of the workers.

“Our hearts remain with the families of the victims of the bridge collapse, and we will continue to stand with the community throughout this period of recovery,” the statement read. “Thank you to the people of Baltimore for showing us what it means to be Maryland tough and Baltimore strong. Baltimore can count on us to stick with them every step of the way, and we will continue to have your back until the bridge is rebuilt.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged that the clearing of the channel will finally allow maritime traffic to travel through the port, after spending the last three months being redirected to other harbors.

“Our belief and expectation is that all of those disruptions and adaptations, as important as they were, were temporary and that traffic that would have been going to Baltimore the day before this happened, belongs in Baltimore today,” said Buttigieg in a statement. “We have every indication that that is what is taking place, but we’ll be reinforcing that expectation as we speak with players up and down the supply chains, including a conversation that we plan to have later this week.”

Buttigieg also reaffirmed that the Biden Administration is seeking federal funding to rebuild the bridge, with Maryland’s congressional delegation leading the effort to introduce legislation for this purpose.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: TOPSHOT - The steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of a container ship after the bridge collapsed, Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, 2024. The bridge collapsed early March 26 after being struck by the Singapore-flagged Dali container ship, sending multiple vehicles and people plunging into the frigid harbor below. There was no immediate confirmation of the cause of the disaster, but Baltimore's Police Commissioner Richard Worley said there was "no indication" of terrorism. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. Given normal USG procurement practices, and the shenanigans pulled by contractors, I assume the “final” coast will be at least double this projection.

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