Maryland plans to rebuild collapsed Baltimore bridge in just over four years

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Maryland is expecting to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in just more than four years, a process that could cost up to $1.9 billion, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The state is looking to construct a new bridge by fall 2028, David Broughton, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Transportation, told the AP on Thursday. The plan’s announcement comes nearly five weeks since a 984-foot cargo ship crashed into the bridge, causing the structure to collapse into the Patapsco River.

The collapse shut down most traffic in the Port of Baltimore as crews work through the massive cleanup process. Broughton estimated the repair costs to equal between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, while noting the cost estimate is preliminary, per the AP.  

The cargo ship, called the Dali, was able to issue a last-minute mayday call to allow police to stop traffic moments before the crash, but eight construction workers were unable to get off and were thrown into the water.

Two workers were rescued and survived, and the bodies of five victims were later recovered. The fifth body was recovered Wednesday, state officials announced, leaving one victim’s body still missing.

The command’s salvage team also found one of the missing construction vehicles Wednesday, Maryland State Police said.

One of the missing construction vehicles was also found Wednesday by the command’s salvage teams, Maryland State Police said.

The broker for the bridge’s insurance policy, WTW, said Chubb will make a $350 million payout to the state of Maryland, the AP reported. Chubb is the company that insured the bridge. The Wall Street Journal first reported the plans for the payout.

The Hill has reached out to Broughton, Chubb and WTW for further comment.

The Maryland Transportation Authority on Thursday told The Hill the state’s treasurer filed a claim shortly after the collapse “against our $350 million property policy and put on notice our $150 million liability policy first tier carrier on behalf of MDTA.”

“We expect the full property policy to be paid very shortly,” the Maryland Transportation Authority said.

Crews have opened multiple temporary channels near the wreckage to allow vessels helping with repairs to pass through, along with other cargo ships that were stuck in the port after the collapse.

Last week, the city of Baltimore filed court documents arguing the owner and operator of the Dali should not be able to avoid liability. The city claimed the vessel was “unseaworthy” when it left the Baltimore port last month and alleged Grace Ocean Private, the owner of Dali, and the ship’s operator, Synergy Marine Group, are “grossly and potentially criminally negligent.”

“For more than four decades, cargo ships made thousands of trips every year under the Key Bridge without incident,” the attorneys wrote. “There was nothing about March 26, 2024, that should have changed that.”

In the days following the collapse, Grace Ocean and Synergy asked a federal court to limit their legal liability to about $43.6 million. The city contended liability cannot be limited at this time without a trial, where the companies’ “failures” could be shown.

The Associated Press contributed.

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