Replacing the bridge in Baltimore will take four years and nearly $2 billion

A giant hydraulic claw removes debris from the Patapsco River near the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge on May 2, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland.

By Brian Witte | Associated press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland plans to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in just over four years at an estimated cost of between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, a state transportation official said Thursday.

The state plans to build a new span by fall 2028, said David Broughton, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation. He said the cost estimate is preliminary and detailed technical details have not been confirmed.

As recovery efforts continue, authorities also announced late Wednesday that they had recovered the body of a fifth person missing after the March 26 bridge collapse that closed the Port of Baltimore, one of the nation’s busiest ports. was closed.

Six members of a roadworks crew were killed when a container ship lost power and crashed into one of the bridge’s support columns. The Key Bridge Response Unified Command announced that the victim found Wednesday has been identified as Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez, 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland. All of the victims were Latino immigrants who came to the United States from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“We continue to pray for Miguel Angel Luna Gonzalez, his family and all who love him, and acknowledge the pain they have experienced since the Key Bridge collapsed,” Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement Thursday. “We pray for comfort, we pray for healing, and we pray for peace knowing that their loved one has finally come home.”

Recovery teams found one of the missing construction vehicles on Wednesday and notified Maryland State Police, officials said. State police investigators, Maryland Transportation Authority officers and the FBI arrived on the scene and found the body in a red truck. The State Police Underwater Recovery Team and Crime Scene Unit also assisted.

Meanwhile, the broker for the bridge’s insurance policy confirmed Thursday that a $350 million payout will be made to the state of Maryland, which is expected to be the first of many payouts related to the collapse.

Chubb, the company that insured the bridge, is preparing to pay $350 million, according to broker WTW. Douglas Menelly, a spokesman for WTW, confirmed plans for the payout on Thursday, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Chubb did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The Maryland Transportation Authority said Thursday that on the day of the bridge collapse, the state treasurer filed a claim “against our $350 million property policy and, on behalf of MDTA, raised our $150 million liability policy.”

“We expect the full property policy to be paid very soon,” the agency said in a press release.

Maryland transportation officials noted that the state’s estimates for the cost of rebuilding the bridge are in line with similar projects of this size and complexity. Federal funding, insurance proceeds and other reimbursements will provide a variety of resources for the reconstruction and recovery, officials said, and the state is pursuing other recovery options to minimize the net cost to taxpayers and toll customers.

The Dali container ship has been lying idle among the wreckage since its collapse, but crews plan to refloat and remove the ship so that more maritime traffic can resume through the Port of Baltimore. Officials expect it to be removed by May 10, according to a news release from the Port of Baltimore.