Key Bridge Section Demolished to Free Stranded Ship in Baltimore

Key Bridge Section Demolished to Free Stranded Ship in Baltimore

A significant step in the recovery efforts unfolded Monday evening as a four-ton section of the Key Bridge, which had collapsed onto the Dali cargo ship, was successfully removed using explosives. The operation marks a crucial milestone in the aftermath of the disaster that claimed the lives of six construction workers, paralyzed the Port of Baltimore, and severed access to the Beltway nearly seven weeks ago.

Initially scheduled over the weekend, the explosive demolition was executed flawlessly, sending steel debris plummeting into the Patapsco River. Video footage captured the controlled explosion, resembling a rapid succession of fireworks, as the steel truss was brought down, clearing a path for the stranded vessel.

The meticulous operation involved placing small explosive devices throughout the bridge span, strategically detonating them within seconds. Cuts were made in the steel beforehand, with heavy-duty tape used to secure the explosives, ensuring a precise and controlled collapse. Despite the deafening noise resembling fireworks, safety remained paramount, with individuals within a 2,000-yard radius advised to wear hearing protection.

Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hailed the event as a significant achievement, emphasizing its importance in restoring access to the Port of Baltimore and reopening the main channel in the Patapsco River by the end of May.

Throughout the operation, over 20 crew members remained on board the Dali, underscoring their critical role in ensuring the ship's safety and functionality. Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath of the U.S. Coast Guard reiterated the necessity of their presence onboard.

Safety concerns loomed large over the high-stakes endeavor, compounded by two previous weather-related delays. Maryland Governor Wes Moore emphasized the mission's safety as the top priority, highlighting the intricate choreography of the explosives to ensure the steel wreckage fell away from the ship without incident.

Looking ahead, Colonel Estee Pinchasin of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlined the next steps, focusing on the removal and refloating of the Dali. Despite the successful demolition, it will take additional time to clear the wreckage and fully reopen the channel.

Meanwhile, Maryland's Attorney General assembled a team of law firms to pursue potential litigation against parties responsible for the bridge collapse. With a contingent fee contract approved, efforts to seek compensation for damages caused by the incident are underway.

As the recovery efforts continue, the removal of the Key Bridge section signifies a pivotal moment in restoring normalcy to Baltimore's vital maritime infrastructure and seeking accountability for the tragic events of March 26.

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