Wu, Healey react to Baltimore bridge collapse:

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BOSTON – The safety of Massachusetts bridges is top of mind for Gov. Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday morning.

Several people were unaccounted for after a large container ship in the Patapsco River hit a support column, causing the bridge to immediately fall.

“It was shocking to see a whole span just kind of crumble, and knowing a little bit of what has to go into emergency response – I can’t imagine,” Wu told WBZ-TV.

Boston bridge infrastructure “set up a little bit differently”

We asked the mayor about safety at the Tobin Bridge, which spans a busy shipping corridor with large ships coming underneath. She said the situation in Baltimore is not the same as Boston, and traffic under the bridge is closely monitored.

“Our infrastructure is set up a little bit differently in that it’s not necessarily the gigantic spans like that, but it takes a lot of work and preparation between all of the agencies that regulate this at the state level – the fire department, the Coast Guard, all those who are ready at a moment’s notice,” Wu said. “And we just hope that something like this would never come to pass, but Boston is ready for any situation.”

Tobin Bridge inspected “a couple of months ago,” governor says

Healey said in a social media post that she’s been in touch with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and “Massachusetts stands ready to support in any way we can.”

Speaking with Boston Public Radio Tuesday morning, Healey said bridge inspections in the state are “regularly occurring.”

“The Tobin was inspected a couple of months ago. If on inspection we identify any issues, we would work hard to care of that,” she said. “We want to make sure that we have the very best protocols in place.”

The governor also said the incident underscored how important it is to address the aging Cape Cod Bridges. Massachusetts has been working to secure the billions of dollars needed to replace the Sagamore and Bourne bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient. 

Massachusetts has a “very safe system”

At a MassDOT news conference Tuesday afternoon, Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said that the agency met with Healey, the Coast Guard, Massport and the Boston Harbor Pilots Association to talk about waterway safety. 

“We have a very safe system,” Gulliver said. “We have some very, very strong maritime professionals that ensure the waterways are safe and Massachusetts bridges are worked on every single day.” 

Gulliver said that Massachusetts has roughly 5,000 bridges with about 50% over waterways. They are inspected on at least a two-year cycle. 

Gulliver said roughly 12% of the Commonwealth’s bridges are considered structurally deficient but he says that does not mean they are dangerous. 

“Structurally deficient does not mean unsafe. It means again, an added level of maintenance is required,” Gulliver said. 

Both the Tobin Bridge in Boston and the Braga Bridge in Fall River are truss bridges similar to the collapsed Baltimore bridge. However, Gulliver told reporters that the piers of the bridges, the columns underneath the bridge, are located in different places.

“My understanding is both the Bourne and the Sagamore as well as the Tobin. Those piers are all outside of the navigation channel so a ship would run aground before it hit those piers and caused any structural damage,” Gulliver said.  

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