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MDTA hosts virtual meeting to discuss key bridge rebuild

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jun 11, 2024

DUNDALK, Md — Just two and a half months after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed, the Maryland Transportation Authority is starting the rebuild process now that the channel is clear, but it's not doing it alone.

“We are committed to a rebuild effort that includes the community and every step of the process," says Jawauna Greene.

Many people are feeling the impact of the collapse, especially in communities near the bridge.

Christopher Lane, who owns a gym near Fort Armistead Road, says people are still feeling the impact.

"Like, I have a member that comes to the gym, and that was a significantly shorter commute, and now going through the tunnel or going to 695 is completely different," says Christopher Lane.

In Tuesday night's virtual meeting, MDTA laid out plans for the rebuild and answered questions from the community about the safety and structure of the new bridge.

“The exact nature and the approach of the bridge is under development. We strive for a new bridge that will accommodate the needs of the port and provide an advanced protection system for the new bridge, peers, and foundation," says Brian Wolfe, MDTA Director of Project Development.

Autumn Reed says she is glad the conversation is happening so soon.

“It makes me feel good because I think we’re taking it seriously, you know. There is a recognition on the state level and federal level that this bridge is really not just a lifeline for the local community but for the transportation of goods," says Autumn Reed.

Many people are wondering what the new bridge will look like.

“You know some sort of balance, like you know something that looks nice but then also pays homage to the original design as well," says Christopher Lane.

“I think that there are opportunities to bring some new technology into the design and infrastructure of the new bridge," says Autumn Reed.

MDTA is saying the bridge will have the same four lanes as before.

It also says there may be a chance the materials from the former bridge will be used in the new construction as well.

William, who fishes near the Key Bridge site, says he doesn’t care what the design of the bridge looks like. He just wants to see it built as soon as possible.

“It’s an asset to us. We want this bridge to be back very soon. The truckers need it. We need it. Everybody needs the bridge," says William.

Other questions were about funding—who will be paying for the bridge? Some people are worried about the impact on taxes.

Autumn Reed said she wouldn’t mind a slight increase in her taxes to offset costs.

“We have to have a bridge, and the federal government is putting in a sum of money, a substantial amount of money, so we need a bridge, and you know nothing is free," she says.

But MDTA assured people they were working to keep costs away from them.

“We are going to continue to work on other recovery options as well to minimize the net cost to taxpayers as well as toll customers," says Jim Harkness, MDTA Chief Engineer.

There is one additional thing Autum Reed says she would like to see as a part of the rebuild.

“I would definitely like to see something that commemorates the six workers who lost their lives," she says.

For now, the completion of the bridge is scheduled for October 2028.

Proposals for the rebuild from contractors are due June 24th, and MDTA will select the construction company that will build the bridge later this summer.