March 27, 2024

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Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Investigation begins as bridge was “up to code”

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to the site, while Governor says structure adhered to safety standards.

Baltimore Bridge

CREDIT: Eric Ogden/Alamy 

On Tuesday, the Francis Scott Key bridge was hit by the Dali, a 948ft container ship headed for Sri Lanka, causing it to collapse into the Patapsco River below.

Eight construction workers assisting with a project at the time fell into the water, six of which have been presumed dead after a search was called off.

The ship, carrying 4679 containers, left Baltimore port at 1am, but is believed to have lost power before striking the 2.57km bridge at around 130am.

The Maryland Governor, Wes Moore, said that the Bridge was up “fully up to code”, however some experts have asked if the structure – built in 1977 – was conceived with supersized ships in mind. The Dali is a 948ft cargo vessel and the average capacity of container ships has increased by 50% over the last decade.

Referencing one of the many recordings of the incident, Andrew Barr, an expert in civil and structural engineering at the University of Sheffield, said that “the video doesn’t show any obvious structural deficiencies with the bridge, but it will not have been designed to survive a head-on collision with such a large vessel”.

With 43,000 bridges across the US classed as “structurally deficient” and in need of repair, the Baltimore incident represents an opportunity for the US to question the safety of its bridge network.

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19 days ago

Not sure how it’s an issue with the bridge network, the bridge was apparently in good condition, it didn’t move into the path of the ship, the ship hit it after apparently at least one power outing/failure. That’s clearly the ship’s maintenance that is an issue, not the bridges. Stop trying to shift the obvious root problem here. The bridges were designed and constructed in their day for what could be foreseen at that time, some may require maintenance now but the cause of this accident was not the bridges structure!