Baltimore Bridge: Italian company that helped rebuild Genoa’s Morandi Bridge offers to build new Key Bridge


The Italian company that helped rebuild a bridge that collapsed in Genoa in 2018 says it is ready to do the same in Baltimore.

WeBuild Group said in a news release Friday that it had submitted a preliminary design and plans to U.S. officials for the reconstruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which collapsed in late March after a freighter crashed into one of its pillars. . Six construction workers died in the accident.

The company, which has a subsidiary in the United States, said the proposed design would produce a safer bridge by widening the channels through which ships can pass, among other measures.

The design will help prevent “the risk of a tragedy like the one on March 26 occurring again,” Carlo Ratti, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who helped develop the proposal, said in the news release.

Genoa's San Giorgio Highway Bridge seen in July 2022. The bridge replaced the Morandi Bridge, which collapsed in August 2018.

The Morandi Bridge in the Italian port city of Genoa collapsed in August 2018 after heavy rain, killing 43 people.

When one of its main pillars fell mid-morning, a section of road spanning 183 meters (600 feet) crashed into a railway track and the buildings below, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people.

WeBuild Group was among the companies that built the Genoa San Giorgio bridge in just 15 months to replace the Morandi bridge. The project, completed in 2020, cost a total of 290 million euros ($312 million), including the cost of demolishing the remains of the collapsed bridge.

The Maryland Transportation Authority expects to issue formal invitations for proposals to rebuild the bridge in late May.

The MDTA is responsible for funding revenue-generating transportation projects in the state, according to its Facebook page.

The Baltimore Bridge, also known as the Key Bridge, was a vital artery for traffic heading to the Port of Baltimore, a major hub for imports and exports of commodities, vehicles, and other goods. Up to 35,000 cars and trucks used it daily.

Its collapse in March temporarily closed much of the port’s operations, although four temporary channels have since reopened, allowing some ship traffic to resume.

In the wake of the disaster, President Joe Biden pledged the federal government’s full support in recovery efforts.

“I have directed my team to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible,” Biden said, pledging that the federal government “will pay the full cost of rebuilding that bridge.”

According to a Reuters report, the Maryland Department of Transportation said on Thursday that rebuilding the Key Bridge would cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, and that it expects the reconstruction to be completed in the fall of 2028.

The authority did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment on the estimated cost and completion date.