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What's considered when constructing a new bridge? Expert explains replacement options for Key Bridge

What needs to be considered when rebuilding new Key Bridge?
What needs to be considered when rebuilding new Key Bridge? 02:27

BALTIMORE - Plans are being discussed to reconstruct a new Francis Scott Key Bridge.

However, what is being considered?

While the Maryland Transportation Authority says they are moving at a rapid speed to rebuild the bridge, a bridge expert explained the factors considered before construction begins.

"When you think about having a structure inside of a community, working with a business, at the Harbor, you've got to figure out what is the best for getting functionality for the area," said Dr. Oscar Barton Jr., a professor and Dean of Morgan State University's School of Engineering.

What factors are considered?

Barton said there are several factors to be considered during plans for rebuilding the bridge.

"There is a lot of intakes that have to be brought in -- community engagement, the Commerce, the Harbor conversations, functionality, aesthetics, cost and then you talk about design," Barton said.

Which style?

The MDTA recently held a virtual industry forum to discuss rebuilding the Key Bridge.

The original Key Bridge was a truss bridge, known to be strong and versatile.

The new bridge could be another truss bridge but there are other possibilities.

A dual-span steel suspension bridge, like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, is one of those other options, as is a cable-stayed bridge.

"If we can get one of these cable-stayed bridges, I think the people in Dundalk will be like, 'I can't wait to drive over today,'" Barton said. "These are beautifully designed, artistic structures."

The MDTA says the new bridge's structure type has not yet been finalized. 

"We are so sophisticated in bridge construction and tunnel construction, it's going to go up very quickly in terms of having the bridge design done, but the construction will probably take some time," Barton said.

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