• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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What to know about the Baltimore Bridge collapse

What to know about Baltimore bridge that collapsed

Following a collision with a container ship, a significant commuter bridge in Baltimore called Francis Scott Key Bridge, a vital traffic artery carrying Interstate 695 across the Patapsco River, collapsed early on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, causing mayhem at one of the busiest ports on the US East Coast and sending cars into the water.

The bridge was a four-lane suspension bridge stretching 1.6 miles. It was a major transportation route for the Baltimore metropolitan area.

“Grace Ocean” owns the 2015 HHI-built Singapore flag container ship “Dali,” which is 984 feet long and 157 feet wide.

The container ship was on its way to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and had just loaded at the Baltimore dock.

The Dali struck a support column after losing power. The impact caused a significant portion (around 3,300 feet) of the bridge to collapse into the river. Aerial imagery shows large chunks of the bridge structure submerged in the water. The collapse caused loss of life, with search efforts recovering some bodies and others presumed missing. The aftermath significantly disrupted traffic and caused delays in the busy Baltimore port.

Baltimore is the busiest U.S. port for car shipments, handling more than 750,000 vehicles in 2022, according to data from the Maryland Port Administration.

Transportation in the Mid-Atlantic region may be disrupted for weeks or months due to the bridge’s collapse, which will also hasten freight movement to the US West Coast.

Because certain hazardous materials are prohibited from entering harbour tunnels, vehicles carrying them are being routed around the whole western section of the Baltimore Beltway.

Although Congress must consent, Joe Biden, says he wants the federal government to foot the bill for the bridge’s reconstruction.

The Tokyo MoU, an organisation that promotes safe transportation, reports that problems with some of the gauges and thermometers connected to Dali’s propulsion and auxiliary machinery were discovered during a normal safety assessment in June in San Antonio, Chile. It wasn’t clear what the problems were, but they weren’t good enough to justify detaining the ship.

What to know about the bridge before its collapse:

The poet Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), who wrote the words to the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is honoured with the bridge. In 1976, when it was still under construction, it was known as the Outer Harbour Crossing. Key Bridge and Beltway Bridge are other names for it. With a major span of 1,200 feet (366 metres), it was the third-largest continuous truss in the world. The entire length measured 2,632 metres (8,636 feet). After the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it was the second-longest bridge in the Baltimore metropolitan region.


It was a truss bridge with a continuous steel arch, a robust and effective design.


It was an enormous construction that was among the longest continuous trusses in the world, measuring 10.9 miles long, including its linking approaches.


According to the MDTA, work on the bridge, which was reported to have cost $110 million, started in 1972 and was completed in March 1977. The bridge aimed to alleviate traffic and maintenance difficulties with the Baltimore Harbour Tunnel, which served the canal.

Transport and traffic:

The Maryland Transportation Authority reports that 11.3 million cars cross the bridge annually as part of the Baltimore Beltway, or I-695, which encircles Baltimore.

Gateway to Baltimore Port:

The bridge connects to Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay’s deepest harbour, the Port of Baltimore. Based on official figures, it is the busiest port in the United States for automotive shipments, handling over 750,000 vehicles in 2023. In addition, it is the biggest port in the United States in terms of volume for handling agricultural products, farm and construction equipment, and cruise ships, with Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean among the operators that use the port to reach the Caribbean, Canada, and other Atlantic regions.

Baltimore Port traffic:

Ships are not leaving the Port of Baltimore due to the bridge collapse. According to data from ship tracking and marine analytics service MarineTraffic, around 40 ships, including tugboats, pleasure vessels, and small cargo ships, were still inside the port. The data indicated that at least thirty other ships had indicated that Baltimore Port was their destination.