Carlo Ratti’s proposal to rebuild the collapsed Baltimore Bridge

The design focuses on sustainability, photovoltaic panels, and some integrated smart features.

In collaboration with structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and construction company Webuild, Carlo Ratti Associati has proposed a new design to replace the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Baltimore, which collapsed on March 26, 2024, after one of its piers was struck by a container ship. Maryland officials will accept proposals until the end of May 2024, aiming to complete the project by 2028. In the meanwhile, the closure of the Port of Baltimore, following the tragedy, is causing delays in the global supply chain, and authorities hope to reopen the passage by the end of the month.

The studio has proposed a cable-stayed bridge with a main span of 2,230 feet, an increase of 1,200 feet from the original span, which will allow for the central piers to be placed further apart. The old bridge consisted of a continuous steel truss girder, an option that, while very resilient, is costly and requires long construction times. Ratti’s suspended bridge would be overall more sustainable. Additionally, it plans to integrate photovoltaic panels along the entire span, along with smart features to record structural vibration data from smartphones in vehicles. Furthermore, a new lane would be added in both directions, bringing the total width to six lanes to better accommodate heavy traffic, and the clearance height of the structure would increase from 185 feet to 230 feet, in compliance with the latest standards in the naval industry.

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