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Baltimore considers replacing Hanover Street Bridge

Baltimore's spending panel approved a $1 million, four-year contract with a consultant to study whether the city should repair or replace the aging Hanover Street Bridge in South Baltimore.

Using a federal grant, the city plans to hire AECOM Technical Services Inc. to study the bridge, which is nearly 100 years old and a main route to get to the Port of Baltimore. Residents frequently complain that the bridge is riddled with potholes.

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The study will "create a plan to identify feasible methods of rehabilitating or replacing the Hanover Street Bridge," according to the agenda for the Board of Estimates, which voted to approve the deal Wednesday.

"The bridge is a major gateway into South Baltimore and we know the bridge needs major repairs or replacement," said Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "This study will help us plan for key infrastructure needed for future growth. Aesthetically, the bridge has architectural merit, so it would likely not be demolished."

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The consultant's study will include a design master plan and an implementation plan, the city said.

After the vote, Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday it was unclear just how much the project would cost.

"We don't know," she said. "That's a challenge not just with the Hanover Street Bridge, but with decaying and outdated infrastructure throughout the city. Infrastructure costs continue to rise in Baltimore and cities across the country."

The mayor said she hoped to partner with other jurisdictions to share the costs of repairing or replacing the bridge.

"That bridge doesn't just serve Baltimore," she said. "It serves Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County. It's important to have a broader conversation about these infrastructure costs. It's a regional bridge."

The study comes as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank is planning a massive development in Port Covington for which the bridge would serve as a main route. Rawlings-Blake said plans to repair the bridge predate Plank's development proposals.

"Port Covington, the proposals there are exciting," she said. "But that doesn't change the declining conditions of the bridge, which have been bad for years."

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