It Could Take HOW LONG to Rebuild Francis Scott Key Bridge???

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Could it really take twice as long and four times as much money to replace the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge than it did to build it in the first place?

The Key Bridge was built at a cost (adjusted for inflation) of about $200 million. Replacing it could take a decade and cost $400 million to $800 million dollars, according to experts in what has become a dismal field.


“To actually recreate that whole transportation network" could take a decade or more, structural engineer Ben Schafer told USA Today on Wednesday. Huge projects, Schafer said, now take “rarely less than 10 years."

Well, they didn't use to.

By comparison, the Apollo program that put a man on the moon required seven years, eight months, and 23 days. And — this is the really exciting part — everything about Apollo, from the massive Saturn V rocket to the "tiny" flight computer, had to be created from scratch. Those seven-and-a-half years included a monthslong delay following the tragic loss of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee during an Apollo 1 dress rehearsal that ended in a deadly crew capsule fire.

Construction began on the Hoover Dam on July 7, 1930, and five years later, it was complete. It started generating electrical power on Sept. 11, 1936 — exactly six years, two months, and four days after the first shovelful of dirt was moved. 

The Empire State Building was fully erect (heh) after just one year and 45 days of construction.

But those were all 20th Century projects, back when we used to get things done. Welcome to 21st Century America, where everything is needlessly time-consuming, expensive, stupid, or (most likely) all three.


The timing "all depends on factors that are still mostly unknown," the AP explained. "They range from the design of the new bridge to how swiftly government officials can navigate the bureaucracy of approving permits and awarding contracts."

Let me help you out on this one, fellas.

You have the original plans stashed somewhere, I'm sure. Those plans have already been run through the bureaucratic torture test — and the bridge stood without any problems for almost 50 years until a massive container ship struck one of its vitals.

So just get started ASAP building the same bridge, but with concrete "dolphins" or fenders around the new supporting piers to avoid future disasters like the one that collapsed the original. 

But everyone knows that won't happen. The replacement bridge will have to be new and somehow improved — or so they'll claim — and require months or years of study on the environmental impacts, even though there's been a bridge there for 50 years already. Hiring contractors will likely take twice as long as they'll have to meet strict new DEI standards. Competence and speed? Tertiary considerations, at best.

Planners will likely require three years just to decide on a new name. They'll eventually settle on "The George Floyd-Pete Buttigieg Antiracist Inclusive Transit Structure" or some such BS.


This is why we can't have nice things anymore. That's not entirely true, of course. We can have nice things — sometimes. But only when the stars align, the tea leaves are correct, and the progressives are distracted by something even shinier.

But it always takes too long and costs too much to get them. 

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