Photo by David Adams U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
After Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse – What are Safety Implications?

After Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse – What are Safety Implications?

March 27, 2024
American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that about one in three U.S bridges need to be replaced.

The collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key bridge after it was stuck by a large container ship is tragic for its loss of life.  A 948-foot cargo ship lost power and crashed into the bridge which had construction crews, as well as drivers, on it. Six people are still missing.

Today, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg gave an update on the issues on ABC News and said that first responders, coast guards and divers worked tirelessly at the scene. He said the loss of life could have been worse if it weren’t for their actions. After the mayday call, people were rescued and the bridge was closed. It was reported that the police had about 90 seconds to stop traffic.

Currently the Coast Guard has boarded the vessel and is sending information to the NTSB to evaluate the situation. A report is expected in the next two to four weeks. 

The issue of safety of this bridge, and others, comes into focus. According to CBS News, this bridge scored a six out of nine during its latest federal inspection. This is considered a “fair condition.” In 2002 the bridge passed inspection but there was a concern with one of the columns.

However, this fair condition is common, and most bridges in the U.S fall in this range, according to Ben Schafer, professor of civil and systems engineering at John Hopkins, according to CBS. 

A recent analysis from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that about one in three U.S bridges need to be replaced. And over 43,000 are in poor condition and classified at “structurally” deficient. The cost to repair the bridges is estimated to be $125 billion according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.  

According to an article on CNBC, each day about 167 million trips are taken across structurally deficient bridges.

With the average age of bridges being 44, the government is aiming to distribute $27 billion over the next five years to fix or rebuild thousands of bridges.

More Bridge Collapse Coverage


About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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