May 03, 2024

Webuild ready to rebuild the Baltimore Bridge collapsed in March

Sent the concept design for the new bridge

Design of a safe, innovative and green cable-stayed bridge that will contribute to the development of the port of Baltimore as a logistics hub

Webuild’s experience in the field at the service of the US, where the Group is already well established

Milan, May 3, 2024 – A new, safe and innovative cable-stayed bridge to redefine the entrance to the historic port of Baltimore City, a key hub for American logistics. This is the project presented pro bono by Webuild, with its US subsidiary Lane, for the reconstruction of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed last March causing the loss of many lives and severing a vital link between the city's harbour and the Atlantic Ocean. The Group offered to the relevant authorities a proposal for the design and planning of reconstruction of the bridge, drawn up as a sign of solidarity and friendship with the United States, a country where Webuild is already well established. The preliminary proposal was drafted in collaboration with architect Carlo Ratti, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux

"We at Webuild and our US subsidiary Lane are ready to make ourselves available, to quickly restore this strategic bridge for local mobility," said Webuild CEO Pietro Salini in a letter sent with the project to the US Secretary of Transportation, the Governor of Maryland, the Director of the Maryland Port Administration and the US Ambassador to Italy. "We will take part, on May 7, in the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)’s Virtual Industry Forum for the reconstruction of the bridge, and we are ready to help in any way we can at this stage in the spirit of pro bono service. The design concept of the bridge that we have been working on incessantly during this last month will represent a key contribution towards the design and reconstruction or new construction of the bridge”. 

The collapse of the Baltimore Bridge, one of the busiest in the area, had a significant impact on regional and global mobility. “We are aware of the importance of this infrastructure from a logistical and commercial point of view, with more than 1.4 million local residents and tens of thousands of commuters directly affected by the collapse of the bridge,” Salini said. “We previously fielded our expertise on the occasion of the tragic collapse of the Genoa Bridge in Italy in 2018 (made at cost without profit for the group), which resulted in the death of 43 people and complete standstill of in the city and the Port, among the most important in Italy,” Salini added. Webuild built the new Genoa Bridge in about 1 year, despite the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, working around the clock, also thanks to the close collaboration with institutions and the support of the civil community. 

Webuild’s proposal for Baltimore includes a cable-stayed bridge that also aims to improve several functional aspects, including safety, adaptability and sustainability. The bridge will be designed to ensure maximum safety for navigation, even for larger ships. It is assumed, for example, that the navigable clearance, the space that a ship can occupy to pass under the bridge, will be 213 feet (65 metres), which is much greater than that of the collapsed bridge; but also that the bridge span will be enlarged to about 2,300 feet (700 metres), with the main pylons positioned in much shallower water and away from the navigation channel. All this will allow the Port of Baltimore to remain an important international port for years to come. A wider carriageway is also planned, with the increase of one lane in each direction and the widening of emergency lanes, in response to the increased traffic levels on the bridge. The proposed new smart features will also enable safer traffic management and the use of predictive maintenance techniques. We would also envisage the use of more sustainable materials to preserve the ecosystem of the Patapsco River.

Baltimora Bridge, concept design | WeBuild - Carlo Ratti Associati - Michel Virlogeux

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Webuild, with 120 years of experience in more than 50 countries around the world, has had a long and successful history in the construction of bridges and viaducts. It has a track record of 1,020 km of works in the industry worldwide, including iconic projects such as the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge in California, the “A. Max Brewer” Bridge in Florida, and the Second and Third Bosphorus Bridges in Turkey. Last year saw the inauguration of the Danube Bridge in Braila, Romania, the second longest suspension bridge in continental Europe, with a central span of 1,120 metres. The Group is also the leader of the consortium that will build the bridge over the Strait of Messina, once approval is given. The project will see the construction of the longest suspension bridge in the world, with an overall length of 3,660 metres and a suspended span of 3,300 metres. 

The proposal for Baltimore was developed together with Carlo Ratti, co-founder of the design studio CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, who, in the context of the ‘Good Vibrations’ project with the MIT Senseable City Lab, presented innovative studies on the structural monitoring of bridges. French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux will bring to the project his experience in some of the most important cable-stayed bridges, including the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon and the world's highest bridge, the Millau Viaduct in France.

"Opting for a cable-stayed solution enables the piles to be positioned at a safe distance, well away from the navigation channel used by large vessels and hence preventing the risk of a tragedy such as the one of March 26 happening again. This approach also provides a light-weight solution to reconnect two sides of Baltimore, both socially and economically - what American infrastructure should be striving to do in the 21st century," commented Carlo Ratti, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding partner of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati.

Webuild's expertise in building bridges

Anchieta Imigrantes Motorway, Brazil

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Webuild ready to rebuild the Baltimore Bridge collapsed in March

Information material - Bridge project over the Strait of Messina
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