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What will a rebuilt Key Bridge look like? MDTA leaders answer questions about the project

What will the new Key Bridge look like? MDTA discusses its plan.
What will the new Key Bridge look like? MDTA discusses its plan. 02:58

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Transportation Authority confirmed during a virtual community update that no decision has been made on the design for the Francis Scott Key Bridge rebuild.

Baltimore's iconic bridge collapsed after it was struck by the container ship Dali early on March 26.

However, the bridge will be designed to accommodate the current and future needs of the Port of Baltimore, plus the traffic that will depend on the reconnection, according to Brian Wolfe, the Director of Project Development at MDTA.

"While the exact nature of the approach for the bridge is still under development, we strive for a new bridge that will accommodate the needs of the port and provide enhanced protection for the new bridge pier foundation," Wolfe said. "We anticipate a bridge that will be built largely in the same location, staying within existing MDTA property, and will provide a four-lane roadway."

The forum started with a 30-minute presentation on Maryland Gov. Wes Moore's four directives after the incident: Prioritize recovery for the families of the six construction workers who were killed in the collapse, clear the channel for vessel traffic to the Port of Baltimore, take care of those affected by the crisis and rebuild of the bridge.

Estimated rebuild milestone dates

The MDTA officials answered questions from community members, which ranged from environmental concerns to a timeline of future events. 

The MDTA set the following Key Bridge rebuild milestone dates: 

  • Proposals are due by Monday, June 24, 2024
  • Project team selection by mid-to-late summer 2024 
  • Project completion by Fall 2028

Officials with the agency said construction may be able to commence in the mid-2025 timeframe after the design is "substantially developed," Wolfe said. 

The current proposal aims for an October 2028 completion date. However, MDTA will look at earlier dates if that's achievable, according to officials.

Who's paying for rebuild costs?

One of several questions asked included who will be responsible for the rebuild costs.

The bridge is expected to be built at a cost of $1.7 billion.

White House Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young in April wrote to Congress and called on lawmakers to authorize "a 100 percent federal cost share for rebuilding the bridge." 

Mere days after the collapse, Governor Wes Moore announced that Maryland would receive an initial $60 million in emergency relief funds that would go toward mobilization, operations and debris removal.  

"Well, I think for the reconstruction, it's expected to be derived from insurance proceeds, cash-on-hand at MDTA, bond financing, litigation recoveries and our federal fund as well," Chief Engineer at MDTA Jim Harkness said. 

A contractor will be selected this summer, and final design will be selected within the next year.

Businesses hope to bounce back

Alex DelSordo, owner of Anchor Bay East Marina and Yacht on Bear Creek, said he purchased the property, which includes a restaurant, less than two weeks before the collapse.

Compared to this time last year under the previous ownership, DelSordo said he's taken a 15% revenue hit at the restaurant. 

DelSordo said he hopes MDTA will rope in businesses in the impacted areas to help rebuild. 

"MDTA needs to lean on the local businesses to get the job done and to help support them with the funding that's coming through on the federal side, with the funding that's coming through on insurance," DelSordo said. "If they are able to utilize those communities and offset any lost revenue, I think you're going to see a really great thing happen. And I hope and I urge them to not look outside the surrounding Dundalk, the Patapsco area, that to focus right there and use what's there at their at their feet."

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