Major Baltimore “Key Bridge” Collapses After Ship Strike, Prompting Traffic Diversions and State of Emergency

Major Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Ship Strike, Prompting Traffic Diversions and State of Emergency. At least 20 people and multiple cars falling into the River

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In the early hours of Tuesday, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a crucial part of Interstate 695 in Baltimore, Maryland, experienced a catastrophic collapse following a collision with a Singapore-flagged container ship, the Dali. The incident, which occurred around 1:30 a.m., sent vehicles and potentially people into the Patapsco River, leading to a massive search and rescue operation and the declaration of a state of emergency by Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace confirmed during a media briefing that there were likely multiple people on the bridge at the time of the collapse, indicating that a significant number of individuals may be in the water. The incident has resulted in a major search and rescue operation, with at least 20 people and multiple cars falling into the Patapsco River.

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has issued urgent traffic advisories in response to the collapse. Motorists are strongly advised to avoid the southeast corridor of I-695. The Outer Loop of I-695 is closed at MD 10 (exit 2), and the Inner Loop is closed at MD 157/Peninsula Expressway (exit 43). For harbor crossings, alternate routes through I-95 or I-895 tunnels are recommended

Special restrictions have been put in place for vehicles transporting hazardous materials, which are prohibited from using the tunnels. These vehicles must use the western section of I-695 to circumvent the tunnels. The restrictions apply to vehicles carrying bottled propane gas over 10 pounds per container (with a maximum of 10 containers), bulk gasoline, explosives, and significant amounts of radioactive materials

Additionally, there are size restrictions for vehicles using the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and the I-95 Ft. McHenry Tunnel. Vehicles exceeding 13’-6” in height or 96” (8 feet) in width are prohibited from using the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. For the I-95 Ft. McHenry Tunnel, the height limit is 14’-6” and the width limit is 11’-0”.

The collapse of the bridge has not only resulted in a tragic loss and ongoing search for survivors but also poses significant disruptions to traffic and the supply chain, particularly affecting access to the Port of Baltimore.

Governor Moore has been in close communication with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to coordinate federal resources and support for the response efforts.

As the investigation into the cause of the collapse continues, authorities emphasize the importance of following the updated traffic advisories and detour routes to ensure safety and minimize congestion in the affected areas.

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