Container Ship strikes and collapses Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge

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Cargo Ship strikes Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge causing great collapse

Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Scott_Key_Bridge_collapse

The ship involved, Dali, is a Singapore-registered cargo vessel. The 229-metre-long (751 ft) ship left Baltimore at 01:00 EDT for Colombo, Sri Lanka.[8] It struck a column of the bridge at 01:27 EDT. The bridge strike and collapse was recorded on video.[9] The bridge broke apart in several places following the collision.[10] A Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD) spokesperson said vehicles were on the bridge at the time it collapsed, including one that was the "size of a tractor-trailer". The Dali caught fire and appeared to sink,[6] with a section of the bridge landing on its front part.[7]





Port of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland USA | StreamTime LIVE YouTube Channel



Scoot Key Bridge 3.25.24.jpg
 
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Construction crews reported on the bridge.

The ship was with a local pilot. These type of ship have a high sail factor, making control in strong winds difficult. Seems to be a tramp steamer. Trades with everyone, anywhere.

Not a good outcome for those on the bridge.

Morning automotive traffic in the greater Baltimore is going to be a mess. This bridge need to be updated, this is not how to do it.
 
The bridge seems to have had minimal collision protection for the main span piers. Large ships, even moving very slowly, have huge momentum. You don't stop them very easily.

The first photo shows the base of the bridge piers of the Key Bridge. There is not much to prevent a ship from taking out the pier. Contrast that to the protection for the electric transmission structure in the background.

The second photo is of the Commodore Barry Bridge over the Delaware River between Chester PA and Bridgeport NJ. That is a very similar structure to the Key Bridge, also over a major shipping waterway. Note the rock buttress protection for the bridge piers. What shows above the surface is just the tip of the iceberg. The buttress slopes down to the riverbed at about a 1:1 ratio. The rock buttress was a retrofit at the Barry Bridge.

Would a more robust protection system have helped? Did marine navigation, or water depth, or the shipping channel width preclude a system that would have narrowed the waterway opening? The main span was 1,200 feet - pretty narrow for major shipping. The Barry Bridge main span is 1,644 feet (and the USCG wanted it wider). One thing virtually for sure. The replacement bridge will have a longer main span and, if possible, will have piers located in shallow water to prevent shipping collisions. Screenshot 2024-03-26 102235.pngScreenshot 2024-03-26 101952.png
 
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I suppose it will be replaced by a cable stayed bridge.

Which would permit lengthening the span and widening the shipping channel. I also would not be surprised if the ACOE and USCG press for a tunnel to protect the waterway from closure. No matter which route they take, the replacement will not happen soon. The Sunshine Skyway bridge over Lower Tampa Bay (FL) took seven years to replace after it was struck by a ship in 1980. Even assuming that this is a simpler job than Tampa, three to four years would be very fast.
 
Which would permit lengthening the span and widening the shipping channel. I also would not be surprised if the ACOE and USCG press for a tunnel to protect the waterway from closure. No matter which route they take, the replacement will not happen soon. The Sunshine Skyway bridge over Lowe Tampa Bay (FL) took seven years to replace after it was struck by a ship in 1980. Even assuming that this is a simpler job than Tampa, three to four years would be very fast.
Indeed. I expect it to be many years before the replacement is built.

Sunshine Skyway definitely came out finally with a spectacular bridge.

If the selected choice is a tunnel it will likely take even longer to build than a bridge would.

In principle they could build a cable stayed box girder bridge which has piers that are well beyond the channel that is restricted currently by the high tension line pillars, now that the old bridge impediment will be gone.

But unfortunately the general trend these days is to select a solution that maximizes cost and construction times.
 
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A Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD) spokesperson said vehicles were on the bridge at the time it collapsed, including one that was the "size of a tractor-trailer".
Driving across a bridge at night after a ship wrecks into it is concentrated nightmare fuel. Compared to other hauling methods maritime regulations can be surprisingly lax when it comes to modern concepts of public safety and disaster avoidance, with lots of waivers for this and grandfathering for that.
 
This is probably too soon to ask, but what about transit improvements and highway replacement? How deep is the channel, isn't there already a tunnel somewhere nearby (no, not the RR tunnels)? The hazmat route could always be redirected (and with what happened to the bridge, might be better being rerouted anyway, if possible).

Really a shocking thing to happen - if not unheard of. Really very lucky all round that it happened at night, since the death toll could have been much, much worse.
 
This is probably too soon to ask, but what about transit improvements and highway replacement? How deep is the channel, isn't there already a tunnel somewhere nearby (no, not the RR tunnels)? The hazmat route could always be redirected (and with what happened to the bridge, might be better being rerouted anyway, if possible).
There is the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel both of which are further upstream. I have used both of those many times but somehow never been on I-695 across the Key Bridge.

My suspicion is that the Key Bridge will be replaced by a newer technology bridge, which will be an order of magnitude cheaper than building a pair of tunnels.

What railway tunnels are you thinking of? There are no underwater rail tunnels in the Baltimore area as far as I can tell. Only the relatively shallow on ground Howard Street Tunnel and the B&P and Union Tunnels, all far from water bodies. And of course soon to come Frederick Douglass Tunnel.

The requirement for Hazmat Routing is that they must be on open roads so that any vaporized hazard can dissipate quickly. It has little to do with the infinitesimal possibility of a road collapse, in making routing decisions. They cannot go through tunnels. for that reason.
 
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I wonder about the impact on NS and especially CSX. The Dundalk Marine Terminal is huge for both railroads- an important factor in CSX improving clearances for double stacks in the Howard street tunnel. In addition a significant amount of unit coal trains are operated into the Curtis Bay coal pier. With the channel now blocked so are the rail shipments from the port. Although I’m sure restoring navigation will be a lot quicker than replacing the bridge.
 
https://gcaptain.com/ships-mayday-call-before-baltimore-bridge-crash-saved-lives/

Reports are the crew of the ship had responded well to the emergency. Radio traffic to stop most vehicles from entering the bridge. Dropped anchor to attempt to stop the ship. The loss of power withstanding sound like the crew was trying hard to deal with the problem.

A cruise ship got in trouble a few years back. The underlining issues was a low oil shut down in a storage tank that feed the engines.

The video seem to show thick black smoke exiting the funnel. Hard to say, but generally heavy black smoke is a sign of incomplete combustion. Something when wrong. The NTSB is going to want some samples of the various fuels onboard.
 
https://gcaptain.com/ships-mayday-call-before-baltimore-bridge-crash-saved-lives/

Reports are the crew of the ship had responded well to the emergency. Radio traffic to stop most vehicles from entering the bridge. Dropped anchor to attempt to stop the ship. The loss of power withstanding sound like the crew was trying hard to deal with the problem.

A cruise ship got in trouble a few years back. The underlining issues was a low oil shut down in a storage tank that feed the engines.

The video seem to show thick black smoke exiting the funnel. Hard to say, but generally heavy black smoke is a sign of incomplete combustion. Something when wrong. The NTSB is going to want some samples of the various fuels onboard.
I noticed the heavy black smoke too. It coincided with the lights which went off coming back on again, so I thought maybe the engines stopped and then they restarted it or something like that. Just random guess on my part based on nothing.
 
Watching the video, to me, it seemed that the ship stopped it's forward motion, as if it was in reverse, but then, the ship started moving toward the bridge and hit the support, causing the complete collapse of that part of the bridge.

Q&A on MV Dali -- Bridge Allison with What's Going on With Shipping, and, G Captain

 
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There is the I-895 Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel both of which are further upstream. I have used both of those many times but somehow never been on I-695 across the Key Bridge.

My suspicion is that the Key Bridge will be replaced by a newer technology bridge, which will be an order of magnitude cheaper than building a pair of tunnels.

What railway tunnels are you thinking of? There are no underwater rail tunnels in the Baltimore area as far as I can tell. Only the relatively shallow on ground Howard Street Tunnel and the B&P and Union Tunnels, all far from water bodies. And of course soon to come Frederick Douglass Tunnel.

The requirement for Hazmat Routing is that they must be on open roads so that any vaporized hazard can dissipate quickly. It has little to do with the infinitesimal possibility of a road collapse, in making routing decisions. They cannot go through tunnels. for that reason.
I was thinking the highway tunnels, not rail.
 
Your mention of the Sunshine bridge collapse brings up some interesting engineering changes. Key bridge built before Sunshine collapse. The thru trusses design of the original Sunshine caused more bridge to collaspe. Now all the trusses that were connected on the Key bridge came down. That type of construction is very much in disfavor now. A new bridge design and construction is going to take time.
 
After clearing the wreckage the harbor can reopen to maritime traffic while what type of bridge will be constructed is planned - then there will be times of traffic closing while a main span is put back into place.

Being in Minnesota (Minneapolis) when the 35W bridge went down a few years back - the speed to replace this was incredibly fast. Of course the type of construction is different - concrete as opposed to all steel - as well as other factors amount of daily traffic - alternate routes available - shorter span not all over water - river channel as opposed to harbor. But the good ole USA has a wealth of labor material and know how to make the replacement shorter than one would think.

In the mean time pause and say a prayer for those souls lost in the bridge collapse and for those injured. Looking at the video of the collapse several vehicles were very very lucky to cross and escape the disaster and timely shutting the bridge down to prevent further loss of life.
 
But the good ole USA has a wealth of labor material and know how to make the replacement shorter than one would think.
The problem isn't in the "labor, material, and know-how," it's in the political will to spend the money for the replacement and the seemingly endless legal wrangling that seems to accompany such projects.
 
The problem isn't in the "labor, material, and know-how," it's in the political will to spend the money for the replacement and the seemingly endless legal wrangling that seems to accompany such projects.
Technically, my guess is it will be a pretty run of the mill, standard cable stayed box girder bridge or maybe a pair of them. Now as for who is going to fund how much of what and how long it will take to get all the environmental doo-dad done, your guess is as good as mine. The Sunshine Skyway bridge took 7 years to replace.
 
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