FMCSA extends Baltimore bridge collapse emergency declaration

Steel from Francis Scott Key bridge being lifted from water
Baltimore District Army Corps of Engineers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today extended the emergency declaration issued after the March 26 collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The emergency declaration was extended until June 22.

The declaration was first issued by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore the day the bridge carrying Interstate 95 over the Patapsco River at the Port of Baltimore was struck by a massive container ship that lost power leaving the port. Due to FMCSA regulations, emergency declarations from state governors can only be effective for 14 days. FMCSA extended the declaration on April 4 through May 8, and again until Saturday, June 8.

The extension applies to operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts related to the collapse of the bridge and partial closure of the Port of Baltimore. 

Direct assistance includes:

  • Transportation related to the immediate restoration of essential services at the Port of Baltimore
  • Transportation of commodities re-routed due to the disruptions to vessel traffic into the port, subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth in the extension
  • Transportation of fuel (gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas, and heating oil) from Maryland’s Curtis Bay terminal (within the Baltimore Marine Terminal area) for delivery to the following locations within Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, and Washington County

Carriers and drivers transporting equipment and supplies related to immediate repairs to the roadways and navigable waterways adjacent to the Port of Baltimore and transportation related to the removal of wreckage and debris from the navigable waterways providing access to the Port of Baltimore are granted emergency relief from the maximum driving time regs is 49 CFR Part 395.3. 

Drivers transporting re-routed commodities are allowed up to two additional hours on their daily maximum driving time, along with drivers transporting fuel in the areas specified above.

Direct assistance does not include transportation related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure or routine commercial deliveries, after the initial threat to life and property has passed, or mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.

FMCSA said it intends to continually review the status of the emergency including the status of the partial closure of the Port of Baltimore and adjacent navigable waterways and the relief granted under this Extension of Emergency Declaration. As necessary, FMCSA may take action to modify this Extension of Emergency Declaration, including modification of the transportations and commodities covered by the Emergency Declaration, and to extend or terminate the Emergency Declaration if conditions warrant.

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Bridge Update

Earlier this week salvage crews successfully removed the final large steel truss segment blocking the 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Federal Channel. The channel is expected to be completely open for port traffic by Monday, June 10.