Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently spoke about the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after it was struck by a massive freighter earlier in the week. The impact of the vessel caused the bridge to crumble and shut down the city’s port. Buttigieg emphasized that the bridge, which was built in the 1970s, was not designed to withstand such a massive vessel weighing about 200 million pounds. The incident resulted in the death of six highway maintenance workers who were on the bridge at the time of the collision.

State and federal authorities are working to clear the debris, move the ship out of the way, and reopen the channel for ships to resume traveling in and out of Baltimore, one of the busiest ports on the East Coast. The timeline for reopening the port remains uncertain, as officials are still investigating the cause of the bridge collapse and assessing the condition of the remaining sections. Buttigieg mentioned that rebuilding the bridge would be a lengthy and costly process, and anticipated that President Joe Biden would seek funding from Congress to begin the reconstruction project.

Buttigieg highlighted a similar incident in 1980 when a bridge in Tampa Bay collapsed after being struck by a freighter, leading to the construction of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The new bridge included additional features, such as large concrete pilings and structural pylons on manmade islands, to enhance its durability. However, Buttigieg expressed uncertainty about whether even these features could protect a bridge from modern, massive cargo ships like the “NeoPanamax” freighters designed for the wider Panama Canal locks.

The urgency to reopen the port was stressed by Buttigieg, as it handles millions of dollars worth of cargo daily and provides essential employment for workers. He emphasized the importance of swiftly resuming port operations to ensure that goods continue to move and workers remain employed. Buttigieg also encouraged readers to support HuffPost’s journalism, which is freely accessible to all, by contributing financially to help keep their stories free for everyone. The 2024 presidential election coverage and investigative reporting are mentioned as critical areas that require continued support from readers like you.

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