Bridge Collapse Is Just the Tip of Disaster Iceberg

BIGGER Threats? Disaster Only the START of Troubles!

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The recent collision of the Dali cargo ship with the Key Bridge in Baltimore harbor is poised to significantly affect the economy. According to Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC, the near-complete collapse of the bridge is expected to halt coal exports for approximately six weeks and impede the transportation of around 2.5 million tons of coal. Being the second-largest coal export terminal, the port managed about 74 million tons of coal in 2024. Since the incident, the port has remained entirely closed.

Rebuilding the bridge may extend well beyond the timeframe of the 1970s when it was originally constructed. Present apprehensions regarding the environmental consequences of large-scale marine construction endeavors, coupled with bureaucratic reluctance, could potentially lengthen the process of reconstructing the bridge spanning the Patapsco River.

The shutdown of the port may result in inflation, increased government deficits, and diminished production capabilities. Ranked as the 17th busiest port in the U.S. in 2021 and the fourth-largest on the East Coast, the Baltimore Port, according to Governor Wes Moore, handled a historic 52.3 million tons of imported cargo valued at $80.8 billion in 2023.

The record-breaking figure marked the foremost in terms of the quantity of light trucks, cars, construction, and agricultural equipment, along with imported gypsum and sugar. Engineers pinpointed a $3 million structural defect in the bridge as the trigger for its collapse upon impact with the Dali. Following the incident, safety apprehensions were raised regarding over half of the 621,581 bridges across the United States.

Eight individuals were present on the bridge at the time of its collapse on March 27. Two workers were successfully rescued on the same day, while divers recovered the bodies of two other workers in a red pickup truck the next day. The fate of the remaining four workers is presumed to be fatal. Among those identified from the pickup truck were Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, aged 26, and Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, aged 35.

An authority mentioned that the site’s safety conditions rendered it unsuitable for further diving operations, citing the significant presence of debris and concrete in the water. Consequently, sonar technology is now being deployed to detect any potential bodies possibly entangled beneath the concrete rubble. Salvage crews are currently managing hazardous materials present at the site. The Biden administration has authorized $60 million in emergency funding to aid in the repair of the bridge.

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