Baltimore's Key Bridge named after author of US national anthem

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore which collapsed after being struck by a container ship in the early hours on Tuesday was named after an American attorney who wrote the lyrics of a song that eventually became the US national anthem -- The Star Spangled Banner.
Francis Scott Key - the author of US national anthem 'The star spangled banner'
Francis Scott Key - the author of US national anthem 'The star spangled banner'

New York | The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore which collapsed after being struck by a container ship in the early hours on Tuesday was named after an American attorney who wrote the lyrics of a song that eventually became the US national anthem -- The Star Spangled Banner.

The visuals of the collapse incident caught on camera have been widely shared on TV channels and social media platforms.

The Singapore-flagged container ship "Dali" with crew - all Indian, 22 in total - rammed into one of the pillars of the major bridge in Maryland's Baltimore at approximately 1:30 am local time, causing it to snap and plunge dramatically into the river below.

There was no official confirmation on the deaths, but the accident may have killed six people and brought one of the most important ports in the northeast US to a grinding halt.

As the sun rose over the horizon revealing the full scale of the impact of the incident, it also put a spotlight on the history of the bridge that was opened to traffic in this very month in 1977.

On March 23, 1977, the Francis Scott Key Bridge that spans the Patapsco River in Baltimore was opened to traffic, according to the website of Preservation Maryland, an over 90-year-old Baltimore-based organisation that works for historic preservation.

Baltimore is a major American city just outside of Washington.

"Besides the famous name, the bridge was a major milestone in Maryland's transportation planning and remains the second longest continuous truss bridge in the United States," it said.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge
The Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Key Bridge was a "major milestone" for the development of the Maryland highway system as it completed the Interstate 695 circuit around Baltimore. It was also a significant engineering accomplishment - and one of the longest continuous truss bridges in the US, according to Preservation Maryland.

Construction of the bridge, named after Francis Scott Key, began in August 1972.

And, the lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner also have a Baltimore connection.

"On September 14, 1814, US soldiers at Baltimore's Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812.

The sight of those broad stripes and bright stars inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem." "Key's words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their meanings and memories," according to the website of the National Museum of American History.

Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key

Key witnessed the twenty-five-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry from a British troopship anchored some four miles away, it said.

The southernmost transportation route across the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge, ran nearly 2.6 km and connected Sollers Point to Hawkins Point.

The continuous steel truss bridge was 185 high and spanned a distance of 1,200 feet. Including connecting approaches, the bridge was 10.9 miles long, according to the Preservation Maryland website.

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