What could actually happen to the Francis Scott Key Bridge?

April 4 — When a cargo ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge last Tuesday morning, it altered a whole lot of aspects of travel and commerce. 

Trucks delivering supplies via the Baltimore beltway have been rerouted. 

Ships in the piers surrounding the bridge have been unable to dock. 

Millions of dollars of supplies have been affected. 

The biggest question at the moment is what will the reconstruction look like? 

Neil Parrot, a candidate for Congress in Maryland, said yesterday, “I was talking with other engineers late last week. We had a big conversation about it. They have a couple different options. One is to see how structurally sound the other piers are and is the bridge able to be replaced right where it is and would that be economical? If there’s too much damage in other piers, you might as well just start over again. They’re going to need to test it. See what that bridge looks like now. Also is this the best place to cross the Patapsco or is there some other location that would be better? Should they be looking at a tunnel or should they be looking at a taller bridge? So these are things that they’re all going to look at.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “It will be an army of people that we probably can’t imagine and another factor, variable that I’ve heard even from engineers thrown into these discussions is aesthetics. A lot of these bridges, that was a bridge built in the 70s.. They all had that very generic look. Engineers are pointing out now that it might be built in a much different way, but also to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Maybe they just look at a totally different location, as well. This is going to be a long process.”

All the steel has still not been removed. 

Barkdoll said, “The reporting now is in spite of all the cranes and there’s people that are working around the clock, a lot of that steel is at the bottom of the river and that is very difficult to remove, but it’s going to take them a long time just to even get all of that debris out of the river.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “I understand you don’t want things building up and I just wonder if there’s some practical threshold. I don’t know how deep that is, or how shallow it can get in dry times. That might make a huge difference.”

Some people are wondering how former governor Larry Hogan might have handled it. 

Barkdoll said, “Hogan was a champion of upgrades and eliminating tolls at the Bay Bridge and Marylanders loved him for doing that because it was such a hassle with that old toll system, crossing the bridge and of course, I believe he owns a house in Ocean City. So he was doing that as a governor and as just a customer, if you will, he recognized the headaches that that would cause. So he really has some insights when it comes to bridges in Maryland. I’d be curious to hear his thoughts on this issue.”