INDUSTRY INSIDER | July 11, 2024

Baltimore’s Key Bridge Rebuild Opens to Bidders

Original Source: New Civil Engineering

A $1bn tender for the rebuild of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has been released by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

The steel arch-shaped continuous through truss bridge in Baltimore, Maryland collapsed after being struck by a container ship around 1.30am local time (5.30am GMT) on 26 March.

The bridge was a 2.63km long bridge with a 366m span that carried the Interstate-695 across the Patapsco River and the outer Baltimore Harbor. It was the third longest span of any continuous truss bridge in the world.

In early May an MDTA spokesperson said it expected the total rebuild cost to amount to between $1.6bn (£1.25bn) and $1.9bn (£1.5bn) and to take four years. These details were said to be preliminary, with detailed engineering specifics having not been confirmed.

The MDTA has now requested design and build teams to submit proposals to rebuild the bridge and reconnect the I-695 Baltimore Beltway, with completion expected by autumn 2028.

For the tender, the MDTA is using a progressive design-build process to form a partnership between a project designer and a firm capable of carrying out the construction of the project. The authority believes this will result in greater efficiencies.

The tender states that it is expecting the contract for Phase 1 of the project, the design of the new build, to cost $67M (£52M), and Phase 2, the build, to cost $1bn (£780M).

As part of the tender, the MDTA wants the successful partnership to design and construct “a visually attractive structure that minimizes the number of piers in the Patapsco River and serves as the gateway to Baltimore city and the Port of Baltimore”.

The MDTA also wants the successful team to complete the bridge design as quickly as possible using an aggressive delivery schedule so construction can commence as soon as possible. It further wants the opening of all lanes to vehicular traffic to occur no later than 15 October 2028.

During the build phase, the MDTA anticipates that incentives will be offered for earlier completion where work activities should be sequenced and performed to minimise impacts to shipping access to the Port of Baltimore.

The tender states the “integrated, high quality design, materials, construction and operational aspects” should “deliver a resilient and aesthetically pleasing bridge exceeding the 75-year service life requirements”.

Upon successful completion of Phase 1, the successful partnership will have exclusive negotiating rights for Phase 2, which includes project final design/engineering and construction.

The project scope of work and accelerated timeline will require a substantial amount of skilled labour to complete the construction expeditiously, safely and reliably, according to the MDTA

Those looking to submit bids for the tender have until Monday, 24 June, then the MDTA expects the project team to be selected by mid-to-late summer this year.

The MDTA hosted a virtual industry forum for the rebuilding of the Key Bridge on May 7 where more than 1,700 contractors, consultants and subcontractors from across the world registered for the event.

Construction of the original bridge commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1977.

In May, WeBuild presented a concept design for a replacement Francis Scott Key Bridge, which would be a 700m span cable stayed structure allowing for piles at a “safe distance”.