The following is a statement from the Port of Cleveland’s President & CEO, William Friedman, on the Baltimore bridge collapse

“The Port of Cleveland extends our deepest condolences to the families of those individuals who may have lost their lives in the tragic bridge accident in the Baltimore Harbor this morning. Our hearts go out to our colleagues and friends at the Baltimore port and in the maritime community as they begin to recover from this catastrophe. We also thank the first responders who routinely put their lives at risk in these emergencies to help others.

Local media have asked the question: could this happen in Cleveland where we also have bridges over shipping channels? Our circumstances differ significantly from Baltimore. The Francis Scott Key bridge had a long span over open water with in-water support piers located on either side of the shipping lane. Our network of bridges is different and varied. Several of the bridges over the Cuyahoga ship channel are lift or swing bridges overseen by capable and trained bridge tenders who communicate with vessels to elevate or swing the bridges to let vessels pass. The fixed bridges over the Cuyahoga have no supporting infrastructure in the water adjacent to the shipping channel, making it unlikely they could be compromised by a vessel. Additionally, all vessels that transit the Cuyahoga Ship Cannel are piloted by highly skilled ship masters who know the waterway extremely well and have transited it many times. They also keep vessel speeds low as appropriate in a much more confined navigation channel.

“The most significant threat to our shipping channel was the risk of a catastrophic landslide into the river at Irishtown Bend. The good news is that the Port has now mitigated that risk with the stabilization work now underway.”

William D. Friedman
President & CEO
Port of Cleveland

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