The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Oops … a Bridge Too Low

May 29, 2023

A new bridge in Baltimore is just about ready to open. The bridge will allow cars on Washington Boulevard (U.S. Route 1) to cross over CSX railroad tracks below. It will replace an older bridge. Except … it’s too low!

CSX has a strict requirement that all bridges over its tracks must provide at least 23 feet of clearance underneath. And the new bridge provides only 22 feet, 10¾ inches—1ü inches too little.

The bridge has been under construction for about five years. It was supposed to cost about 37 million dollars and provide 23 feet, 5 inches of clearance. But the contract to Lane Construction was modified shortly before the bridge was finished to include a sidewalk for pedestrians. The additional weight of sidewalk and other modifications caused the bridge to come down to only 22 feet, 10¾ inches of clearance.

MDOT (Maryland Department of Transportation) was supposed to be responsible for seeing to it that the bridge met all standards. They clearly did not do this.

Fixing the clearance problem now by either raising or rebuilding the bridge, or lowering the tracks below it, will cost more millions of dollars. But no matter what the solution is, we can be sure it will cost ordinary taxpayers a pretty penny.