Baltimore bridge rebuild expected to cost up to $1.9B

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Dive Brief:

  • The cost of rebuilding the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore will be between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, and will take about four years to complete, according to Maryland DOT spokesperson David Broughton. However, that number is still a preliminary estimate.
  • The Maryland Transportation Authority is hosting a building industry forum on May 7 to explain the project process, and plans to release a request for proposals by the end of the month. State officials are aiming to finish the new span by fall 2028, Broughton said.
  • Chubb, the Key Bridge’s insurer, is preparing to make a $350 million payout to Maryland, opting to pay the full amount of the coverage quickly rather than waiting for rebuilding to begin, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s the first large payout in what will likely be a lengthy fight over who bears the cost of the collapse.

Dive Insight:

As cleanup efforts continue in the Patapsco River, authorities announced Wednesday that they had recovered the body of a fifth person who was missing after the container ship Dali hit the bridge on March 26. The Key Bridge Response Unified Command said that the victim was identified as Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez, 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. 

Salvage teams found a missing construction vehicle Wednesday and notified the Maryland State Police, leading to the discovery of Gonzalez. All six victims were immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, who were repairing the bridge at the time of the collapse.

“We remain dedicated to the ongoing recovery operations while knowing behind each person lost in this tragedy lies a loving family,” said Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr., superintendent of the Maryland Department of State Police. 

Salvage crews are currently preparing to remove the piece of bridge lying on top of the container ship in preparation to refloat and remove it, Unified Command said Friday. The operation requires careful handling of roadbed material, crushed containers and bridge fragments currently resting on Dali’s bow. Teams have already removed 182 containers from the ship to facilitate the process.

Once Dali is removed, more maritime traffic will be able to proceed through the busy Port of Baltimore.

The U.S. DOT sent $60 million in emergency funds on Thursday to clear debris and start the rebuilding process. President Joe Biden has said the federal government will cover the cost of the new span. Members of Congress are working on legislation that would waive the current requirement that Maryland pay 10% of the rebuilding costs.

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