Home » Drone Footage Of Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Shows The Immensity Of The Disaster

Drone Footage Of Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Shows The Immensity Of The Disaster

Bridge Update Ts2
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Federal investigators are working hard to collect evidence in the wake of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore. The National Transportation Safety Board has crews on site investigating the incident as a matter of haste. In the first full day of the investigation, the agency has released images and initial findings that shed light on the sheer scale of the disaster.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the NTSB, gave a media briefing late last night to cover what investigators have found thus far. Homendy was joined by Marcel Muise, the NTSB’s investigator in charge, and NTSB board member Alvin Brown.

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“Our entire mission is to save lives, and our aim is to prevent this from reoccurring,” Homendy stated to the press. She indicated that the NTSB will not analyze or make recommendations while still on the scene. For now, the NTSB’s aim is to collect “perishable evidence” surrounding the event as quickly as possible. Follow on for updates on the investigation and a rough timeline of events.

Footage Shows Damaged Containers, Spans

 

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Drone footage from the NTSB revealed the current state of the ship and the bridge. The bridge spans are still sitting in the waters of the channel, with large parts of the structure still tangled in the ship’s bow. Reports also state that some of the ship’s cargo containers have ended up in the water as a result of the crash. It’s clear that a huge cleanup is in the cards, both to remove the ship and the entire hulking remains of the Francis Scott Key bridge.

At this stage, the NTSB has determined that 21 crew were present on the vessel at the time of the incident, plus two pilots. Pilots are specialists in navigating local waterways and board vessels for critical transits in and out of port areas. At least six workers are believed dead as per The Washington Post, with two bodies recovered at this stage.

Jennifer Homendy and Marcel Muise briefed the media on the latest updates from the ground. 

The cargo manifest recovered by the NTSB featured 56 containers of hazardous materials, weighing a total of 764 tons. Most of these materials were in the corrosive or flammable categories, along with miscellaneous Class 9 hazardous materials including lithium-ion batteries. Some of the hazmat containers were breached and a sheen has been spotted on the water in the area.

The NTSB’s Operations and Engineering group boarded the ship, taking in the bridge and engine room. The team has been looking for cameras, CCTV systems, or other downloadable recordings. The search continues, but nothing has been turned up as of yet. The team will be looking at the maintenance history of the vessel and are doing interviews with crew on board.

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The Recorders group has had more luck. This group is responsible for  “locating, retrieving and downloading any recorder or recorded information that may relate to the accident.” The team has found the voyage data recorder (VDR) and has a printout of the vessel alarms log.

Information from the VDR was successfully recovered on the morning of the accident by the Coast Guard, which was later provided to the NTSB. At this stage, approximately six hours of VDR data is in NTSB hands, covering the period from midnight to 6 a.m. on the night of interest.

Ntsb B Roll Investigators Aboard The Cargo Ship Dali 3 5 Screenshot
NTSB officials have been on board the Dali to capture images, take interviews, and recover evidence.

By regulation, the VDR should record 30 days of history. Homendy notes the six hour period is a “standard timeframe” provided immediately to capture the time frame around the incident. NTSB teams will recover the full 30 days of recording in due time.

However, at times during the press conference, Homendy hinted that the full period may not be available. Noting unconfirmed reports of prior outages for the vessel, Homendy didn’t commit to what the NTSB will actually find. “We are going to look at what we can get from the VDR data because there should be 30 days,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to find something in that data if the entire 30 days is there.”

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Ntsb Official Drone Footage Of Ship Disaster In Harbor 3 59 Screenshot

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Ntsb B Roll Investigators Aboard The Cargo Ship Dali 0 51 Screenshot

Ntsb B Roll Investigators Aboard The Cargo Ship Dali 1 57 Screenshot
The Dali was heavily damaged in the collision.

The NTSB chief also pointed out that VDR data is “basic” compared to flight data recorders used in aviation. “An FDR would give you 1000 parameters, that’s not this,” explained Homendy. “VDR is basic, it is a snapshot of the major systems on a vessel.” She notes the NTSB has long wanted more recording and more parameters to be recorded on VDRs for assessment in cases like these.

Muise noted that most sensors recorded by the VDR are from the bridge. This includes GPS data, audio, rudder feedback, and rudder commands. However, more detailed engineering information like the temperature of each cylinder or power distribution status was not recorded on a voyage data recorder. “We are looking for other sources of data in the engine room that would give us that data,” says Marcel. At this stage, the agency noted it’s not clear yet if data is available to determine the cause of the power outage on the ship.

A Timeline Of The Disaster

For now, the NTSB has reconstructed a timeline of events based on recordings from the vessel’s VDR. Times are converted to Eastern Daylight Time, and the agency noted the information is preliminary and subject to validation. The VDR recorded limited sensor data including speed, engine rpm, heading, rudder angle, and some alarm information.

The VDR recorded Dali’s departure from  Seagirt Marine Terminal at 12:39 a.m. local time. By 1:07 a.m., the ship entered the Fort McHenry channel, and by 1:24 a.m. the ship was underway on true heading 141 in the channel at a speed of 8 knots (9.2 mph) overground. Alarms started ringing at 1:24 and 59 seconds based on audio recorded on the bridge. Around the same time, VDR sensor data ceased recording, while audio kept recording thanks to redundant backup power. At around 1:26 and 2 seconds, the VDR resumed recording sensor data, with steering commands and rudder orders recorded on the audio.

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Baltimore Bridge Collapse Ntsb Official Drone Footage Of Ship Disaster In Harbor 1 34 Screenshot

The first open call for assistance appears to have occurred at 1:26 a.m. and 39 seconds, when the pilot made a general VHF radio call for tugs in the area to assist. At this time, the dispatcher for the local pilot association phoned the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) duty officer regarding the ship’s blackout.

At approximately 1:27 and 4 seconds, the pilot ordered the Dali to drop its port anchor and made additional steering commands. Around 1:27 and 25 seconds, the pilot issued a radio call over VHF reporting the Dali had lost all power and was approaching the bridge. MDTA records indicate the duty officer radioed two units already in the area due to local construction at this time, ordering them to close traffic on the bridge. All lanes were thus shut down by the MDTA. Around 1:29 a.m., the speed of ship was 7 knots (8mph). From this moment until 129 and 33 seconds, the VDR audio recorded sounds “consistent with the collision with the bridge” according to Muise. MDTA cameras showed bridge lights flickering out at this time. At 1:29 a.m. and 39 seconds, the pilot reported the bridge was down to the Coast Guard.

Muise noted additional analysis was needed to verify the exact time of impact. The NTSB will convene an expert group to review the recording and develop a detailed transcript of dialogue and event alarms as part of its report.

The Challenge Of The Bridge’s Construction

Homendy noted the Francis Scott Key bridge was built in 1976. It had three spans, with a main span of 1200 feet and a total length of 9090 feet. The average annual daily traffic is 30,767 vehicles per day.

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As for the failure, the NTSB chief explained the bridge’s design had a role to play. “It’s a fracture critical bridge,” said Homendy. “What that means is if a member fails that would likely cause a portion of or the entire bridge to collapse.” She noted that unlike modern designs, which prioritize redundancy, the bridge in question had none.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Ntsb Official Drone Footage Of Ship Disaster In Harbor 2 58 Screenshot
A section of the roadway visible as it sits on the bow of the Dali.

The bridge was in satisfactory condition prior to the incident, according to the NTSB. The last fracture critical inspection was in May 2023. Homendy also noted there are presently 17,468 fracture critical bridges in the US out of 615,000 bridges total, according to the Federal Highway Administration. In due time, the NTSB will analyze all available inspection documents for the bridge. The agency also requested information on pier protection on all MDTA-owned bridges.

The agency’s full investigation is expected to take 12 to 24 months, with a preliminary report out in 2 to 4 weeks. Homendy stated the NTSB won’t hesitate to issue urgent recommendations prior to that time if needed

Recent History

The NTSB has noted reports of previous power losses on the vessel in the lead-up to the incident. According to reports from Business Insider, the Dali was flagged in June 2023 for propulsion system and auxiliary system issues. Reported in Chile on June 27, the note read “Gauges, thermometers, etc.” At this stage, there’s no firm evidence to link this to what happened in the bridge strike on Tuesday. Reports from a port worker have also suggested there were issues apparent prior to the bridge strike on Tuesday.

Homendy also responded to a question as to the state of the crew on board. “The cook was cooking when I got on board, said Homendy. “It smelled very good and I was very hungry.” It was a small moment of lightness in an otherwise deeply serious press conference. She also noted the ship has some power. “They’re not sitting in the dark, but [the ship] cannot move right now,” says Homendy.

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In response to widespread media reports that contaminated fuel could have played a role, Homendy confirmed this was on the investigation’s agenda. The NTSB will collect fuel samples and will analyze it along with the fuel system.

For now, conditions in the area aren’t helping matters. The rain and the cold are making operations on-site difficult. Furthermore, the very nature of working around collapsed bridge sections and spilled hazardous materials also presents extra challenges for NTSB teams in the area.

Both federal and state agencies have a huge job ahead. Not only does the matter have to be investigated, but the channel and port will need to be restored to operation when the time is right. There remains much to be done at this early stage.

Image credits: NTSB

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Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
19 days ago

Syndicate this article. It’s that good.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
19 days ago

Anyone with shipbuilding knowledge think this ship looks repairable? Because it sure looks repairable to stupid, old me.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
19 days ago
Reply to  BigThingsComin

100% Repairable. No question. Way too valuable not to. They might rename her though.

Speedway Sammy
Speedway Sammy
19 days ago

I know maritime law and insurance coverage is complex, but it seemed odd that Biden immediately pledged essentially unlimited taxpayer money to cover the rebuild. I’d say get the shipping lane open immediately and let the lawyers fight over the bridge rebuild.

Brad Cowell
Brad Cowell
19 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

I would bet the government will sue to get back a good chunk of that money down the road. It’s not much different than how car insurance companies work sometimes. I was in an accident once that was clearly the other person’s fault (turned left in front of me), but their insurance company was being a dick, so mine went ahead and paid for the repairs and said they would pursue getting paid back thru the legal system. That was 20+ years ago, and if my insurance company hadn’t stepped up and paid, I’d probably still be waiting for the repairs

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
19 days ago
Reply to  Brad Cowell

Good ole Subrogation (that’s the technical term).

El Jefe de Barbacoa
El Jefe de Barbacoa
18 days ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Give em the ol’ Subrogering, I always say.

AKA Rukh
AKA Rukh
18 days ago
Reply to  Speedway Sammy

I’m sure the Feds will attempt to recoup as much as they can from whoever turns out to be liable, but even if they don’t recover anything, I’m sure the reason Federal aid was promised so quickly is because of the importance of this port and thoroughfare to the local, state, and national economies. It might be controversial to pledge funds so quickly, but it would be way more detrimental to everybody* if the Feds just let a major port die. The subsequent effects on the supply chain and economy are going to be bad enough; and its an election year so Pop-pop Joe is likely trying his best to mitigate the discomfort that that will bring.

*some political opponents notwithstanding

DadBod
DadBod
19 days ago

It’s extremely frustrating to see articles on mainstream media sites harping on the bridge design. The amount of energy involved in this collision could not be designed around. There’s a ship channel there, it’s not like you can put blastproof concrete pyramids under the bridge. I feel déja vu from 9/11 when idiots complained that the WTC should have been built to withstand an airliner strike.

Myk El
Myk El
19 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

Some people seem to have a very bad understanding of the physics involved. I’m no expert myself, but I have a basic concept of intertia.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
19 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a long span bridge with redundancy.

Now if we want to discuss whether they should have built a man-made island around the piers, or just bite the bullet and push the piers much further apart, I’m all ears.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
19 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

“I feel déja vu from 9/11 when idiots complained that the WTC should have been built to withstand an airliner strike.”

In the early 1960s, New York City has the strict building code that stipulates the new skyscrapers to withstand the collision with the equivalent of Boeing 707. That was due to the concern about the increased air traffic amongst three major airports (EWR, JFK, and LGA) in the 1950s. A B25 bomber airplane actually crashed through Empire State Building in 1945.

Both WTC towers survived the impact of Boeing 767 crashing into them as designed. North Tower caught fire in 1975 that spread from 9th to 14th floors and survived. Same for the terrorist bomb in 1993 in the parking garage that could have brought the entire North Tower down, but it didn’t due to the exceptional design.

Ben
Ben
19 days ago

I know ship crews are often not allowed to leave even when there is drama going on with a ship (sometimes for very long periods of time), but making them stay on a seriously damaged ship seems a little dangerous, no?

DadBod
DadBod
19 days ago
Reply to  Ben

The water is like 8 feet deep. It might be resting on the bottom for all we know.

Ben
Ben
19 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

An, interesting. I was thinking they were lucky it didn’t sink, but maybe it sank as far as it could already.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
16 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

I read somewhere else that the bow is in fact resting on the bottom. Could be a hull breach below the water line, but maybe just the weight of the bridge on the bow.

SCJeff
SCJeff
19 days ago

I find the timeline very interesting. This wasn’t a case of people not doing their jobs, or not paying attention. There was a problem and within 2 minutes (1:24.59 to 1:27.04) the pilots realized they were fucked, dropped anchor, called in the mayday, etc. but nothing was going to stop a ship that big.

Tim R
Tim R
20 days ago

NTSB seems to be one of our better run federal agencies.

Lincoln Clown CaR
Lincoln Clown CaR
19 days ago
Reply to  Tim R

I think because they’re just responsible for investigating and not regulating, so they’re not constantly doing battle with politicians and the regulated entities.

DadBod
DadBod
19 days ago
Reply to  Tim R

You should check out USCSB

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
19 days ago
Reply to  Tim R

It’s nicely illustrates the problem of corruption- the NTSB has no rulemaking or enforcement powers, so there’s little incentive for outside actors to attempt to exert influence over them, add in the good pay and you get a highly competent collection of investigators who do their job possibly better than anyone else in the world.

D.B. Platypus
D.B. Platypus
20 days ago

I live about 12 miles (as the crow flies) from the Key Bridge. It was visible from a hill near my house. I tried going up there to see if I could see the ship or anything, but the weather hasn’t been good for clear seeing.

I’ve only driven across it a handful of times because I have never lived or worked on that side of the city.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
20 days ago

I’m shocked by the blunt pier edge that faces the outgoing ship traffic. It’s just a group of pilings, but they present a flat face. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t at least pour a concrete monolith “fender” that deflects and shunts the ship’s hull off to the side.
Infrastructure matters, which is why I’m voting for the team that actually does something about it.

William Sheldon
William Sheldon
20 days ago

Why fix anything when you can ignore it, let it continue to degrade into garbage, and then complain about the country being reduced to garbage! No integrity, responsibility or accountability! Sounds easier! I guess this shows how much you love your country? Perfect! Now off to go teach these lessons to my kids…..

Last edited 20 days ago by William Sheldon
Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
20 days ago

You’re not going to have much success shaming me for giving a fuck.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
20 days ago

I’m not 100% sure what you’re trying to say here to the OP?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
19 days ago

Uhhhh, hey everyone. I read this comment as full agreement with what Michael said, nothing else. I believe William was merely saying that it’s easier to stir up the electorate with rhetoric or lies than it is to actually fix things. Certain current figures on the Right might be good examples of such.

I classify William’s comment as pissed-off sarcasm commentary and nothing else.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
19 days ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Yeah I think somehow the sarcasm went over people’s heads in this one. Says a lot about the kind of stuff we’re getting used to see people say with a straight face online.

William Sheldon
William Sheldon
19 days ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Good Morning, didn’t mean to cause confusion/consternation! I was in agreement w/ Michael, and while not pissed off, my sentiment was of that of sarcasm. I work under the greater infrastructure industry tent as a geologist for mining and aggregate companies, and have constructed a couple small bridges for the forest service, so I pay close attention to what’s being said vs. what’s being done under the spotlight of infrastructure progress.
Jobs/lives/safety depend on agency and action, so i suppose I’m sensitive about when promises are made to placate electorate and then not enacted upon due to govt dis-f(x)/misplaced priorities. I’ll try to be more transparent next time!
Cheers!

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
20 days ago

Ah yes, in case I forgot that it was 2024 I have a car website’s article about a container ship hitting a bridge to remind me that ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING MUST BE ABOUT POLITICS.

I’ll give you some sage advice: Get. A. Friggin. Life.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
20 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

So you have an objection to my advocacy, but you’re not mad at the politicians who slashed budgets so things like this can happen?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
20 days ago

Significant budget cuts at the Maryland DOT are a pretty recent thing, like past 12ish months

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

The vast majority of a state’s budget for maintaining the Interstates comes from federal funding.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
19 days ago

And this bridge was perfectly maintained. Or are you talking about hypothetical upgrades that nobody had officially requested, designed, or budgeted for? Can’t cut spending on something that wasn’t even proposed to begin with

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

This piece sums it up pretty well. The Key bridge was built when container ships were about the size of Elon’s fishing boat. After the Tampa bridge collapse in 1980, the fenders were mandated for new bridges in these situations. Some bridges have been upgraded with these measures (Verrazano Narrows, for example) but the Key bridge hasn’t been upgraded.
My whole point here is that some electeds have a record of voting for infrastructure and some don’t. The ones who don’t are the reason that Maryland didn’t get the federal funding for a barrier system at this bridge.

https://www.politico.com/news/2024/03/27/baltimore-bridge-design-fender-00149398

Last edited 19 days ago by Michael Beranek
DadBod
DadBod
19 days ago

From what I have read elsewhere, there’s no realistic design that would have handled the forces involved in this crash.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

Not true. We’ve scaled up the ships, now we need to scale up the bridge protection.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
16 days ago
Reply to  DadBod

There really isn’t a reasonable bridge design that would handle a hit like this to the vertical supports like this, but a “dolphin” protector big enough is definitely possible. But.. retrofitting in a case like this, there’s the question of how much of the passable area it would eat up in addition to the cost and disruption of building them.

Redfoxiii
Redfoxiii
20 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

As soon as politics stop being involved with everything else we can stop talking about them.

‘National Transportation Safety Board’ seems awfully… political.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
20 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

I mean… infrastructure budgets and policy are intrinsically political. It’s not exactly a massive leap to ask these sorts of questions when you see a failure like this.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
20 days ago

The Key bridge was built nearly half a century ago. In that time this country and the state of Maryland have had leaders from both parties. The only thing political about this is the blame game that will be played in order to garner votes to one side or the other. Both parties have had plenty of time to do something if there was a side to actually pick here. It’s an older bridge that was in good shape, but was not designed to take a hit from a 116,000,000 kg ship

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

So if one party proposes a budget increase to fix an obvious problem, but the other party votes it down, it’s the fault of “both sides”?

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
20 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

I didn’t read that as any kind of political statement, just explaining that he cares about infrastructure. Kind of just a little emphasis on the end of his comment.

Everything doesn’t need to be about politics, huh?????

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
19 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

The only reason I wouldn’t want people to talk about “politics” on this site is that it tends to turn people into rude assholes. Ahem.

Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
Do You Have a Moment To Talk About Renaults?
19 days ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

Is this a joke? How do you even make a major infrastructure incident non-political, especially in a country where investment in infrastructure (or lack thereof) is eminently political?

Also, absolutely everything is about politics; your comment rejecting the intersection of politics and this matter is SUPER political.

Matt Gasper
Matt Gasper
20 days ago

It wouldn’t have helped. This was a 100,000 ton ship going 8 knots.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  Matt Gasper

The fenders don’t have to stop the ship, they just have to deflect it to the side. I’m not saying these concrete monoliths would be small, they’d have to be very large.
But the kinetic energy of a container ship is a known value. We can design fenders that can do the job- if we’re willing to spend the money, and by that I mean elect legislators who are willing to spend the money.

David Smith
David Smith
19 days ago

Since there’s already tons of infrastructure projects that need to be taken care of in the state are you suggesting a $500 million dollar (number pulled out my arse but probably low) project to build fenders for the bridge would have some how gotten moved to the top of the the infrastructure needs.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
19 days ago
Reply to  David Smith

If I had my way, we’d tax the corporations that are subsidized by infrastructure and move it all to the top of the list.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
19 days ago

The problem is that the fenders needed to even deflect that much energy would cost more than the bridge itself. We’re talking fission sized amounts here.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
18 days ago

All of these articles from Politico to the NYT that keep talking about fenders? What they are actually referring to are the AASHTO standards, which you can read for yourself here. The highest grade of bridge barrier discussed in those standards (proposed in Tasmania, never actually built) is protecting against collision on the order of 250,000 ft-kips but the biggest built is on the order of just 50,000 ft-kips. Quick math tells us the Dali moving at 8 kts / 15 km/h, with ~4700 TEUs and a ~95 ton empty weight plus enough fuel to get to Sri Lanka results in a kinetic energy of 1.35ish gigajoules, or roughly 1 million ft-kips.

So the collision involved 4x the kintetic energy of anything in the published standards for barrier protection, and roughly 20x of anything actually ever built. Which means you are well beyond the list of off the shelf solutions and into the realm of custom designed protection. At some point an accountant is going to start yelling “JUST REPLACE THE BRIDGE FFS!” because it will be cheaper, and you also get a new bridge out of the deal.

So no, the idea that there is some easily achievable protection solution that would have prevented this is trivially disprovable. The bridge was also not structurally deficient in any aspect that would require immediate replacement. To me, there’s no good case to spend billions of dollars on a new bridge when there are many other bridges in much more immediate need of replacement. Tax dollars are not some bottomless well that can always be increased- that’s money that could otherwise be spent in the community, directly enriching lives.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
18 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

Boulder islands around the bridge piers (if there’s room given the navigational need). Ship runs aground and stops before it ever gets to the bridge.
Is the island damaged? Yes. Is the ship damaged? Yes, way more than the Dali. Is the bridge intact?
Yes.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
18 days ago

There are 600 feet between the bridge piling and the center of the shipping channel. The shipping channel itself is 700 feet wide, so you’re left with 250 feet between channel edge and bridge piling, and since two ships have to pass in the channel you have to account for a ship right at the edge of the channel. The beam of a NeoPanamax (like the Dali) is 168 feet, so another 84 feet have been chopped off of your remaining potential barrier width, down to just 166 feet.

The internal friction angle of piled rock is roughly 30 degrees, but less underwater thanks to reduced friction, and even less with boulders which have fewer points of contact. But sure, lets be generous and assume 30 degrees, it won’t matter. You have 166 feet of width to play with, which means you can pile boulders 41.5 feet high. The shipping channel is 51 feet deep, so you can’t even stack rocks to water level for your boulder island, using the most generous assumptions possible, and not accounting for wind, tide, erosion, flooding, etc.

You keep assuming that there is some easy, obvious solution that has been overlooked by the engineers who have extensive educations and long professional careers designing such things, and that if only the evil elephant party would spend more tax dollars then we could all live in a safe, happy, fuzzy future.

As shown by some trivial math, this is not congruent with reality. There is realistically no available protection option that would cost less than just building a brand new bridge, which is a hell of a way to spend billions of dollars when the existing bridge was structurally sound. I reiterate: tax dollars are not infinite, and people get upset when you fling their money at boondoggles.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
18 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

The economic cost of both the bridge and the channel being out of service has to be added to the cost of rebuilding the bridge. That cost is many times larger than the cost to rebuild the bridge. When you figure this in, it makes sense to spend the money.
If there’s not enough room, then the way forward is to aquire property, hog out the channel, and make the space needed to do the job right.
I’ll never accept that “it’s too expensive to do it right”.

DadBod
DadBod
19 days ago

There are bollards (“dolphins”) on either side of the pylons for this purpose. The ship sailed around one then struck the bridge. I’m no engineer, this is something I gleaned from ARS Technica and links in the discussion.

Last edited 19 days ago by DadBod
Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
19 days ago

Hmph. I’ve heard the words “crumbling roads and bridges” in the mouths of every top presidential candidate on both sides since at least the late 90s. And have any of them actually gotten one shovelful of dirt turned since then?

Remind me which side you mean again?

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