WVDOT extends condolences to those impacted by Baltimore bridge collapse, stresses importance of bridge safety

CHARLESTON, WV – The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) expresses its condolences to the families of those impacted on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, when a container ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing the span to collapse.
Authorities said a container ship registered in Singapore lost power in the Patapsco River around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday and crashed into a support pier on the bridge, leading to the immediate collapse of the structure. Several vehicles were thrown into the water.
Emergency officials immediately staged search and rescue efforts in the frigid waters. Among those still unaccounted for are six construction workers who were on the bridge at the time of the collision.
In West Virginia, the WVDOT takes bridge safety very seriously. While no one could predict a catastrophic event like a ship colliding with a bridge, the WVDOT maintains an aggressive bridge inspection program that surpasses federal requirements.
State Bridge Engineer Tracy Brown, P.E., said every one of the approximately 7,000 bridges in the state is inspected at least every two years, and more frequently if necessary. WVDOT engineers would not ask the public to cross any bridge they would not be comfortable crossing with members of their own families.
“Our bridge inspection program – in fact, the entire federal bridge inspection program – is based on the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant on December 15, 1967,” Brown said. “We at the WVDOT take bridge safety extremely seriously to help guard against a tragedy of such magnitude happening again.”