One of the many gains that the Bridge Project will offer is an increase in the water clearance of the current Gerald Desmond Bridge. The new bridge will be 50 feet higher, providing 205 feet of clearance for larger ships. In the video above, a vessel heads into the Port’s Inner Harbor, passing directly below the center of the new bridge. The ship has a tall center section. Check out how far below the top of the ship’s instruments are from the road deck.
When the Bridge Project was designed, a marine research firm was engaged to perform a study on the height requirements for water clearance to accommodate the largest ships that exist today and in the future. The firm’s findings concluded that 205 feet, the new bridge’s water clearance, will accommodate the largest ships today and for the foreseeable future. In fact, other bridge projects in the U.S. have used this finding in their design.
To be clear though, the largest ships in the world will not be heading into the Inner Harbor due to the need for a greater turning radius in the channel to maneuver the vessel. However, the clearance will exist to accommodate the largest ships if – in the distant future – the Port wishes to develop the Inner Harbor area. Remember, the Bridge Project is a 100-year bridge.