Maryland crews lift away 200-ton piece of collapsed bridge

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Crews at the site where Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed last week after being hit by a container ship cut and lifted away a 200-ton chuck of the mangled structure as the work of removing steel and concrete at the site continues, officials said Monday. 

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said the piece was the size of the Statue of Liberty but only a small part of the project.

“The scale of this project is enormous, and even the small lifts are huge,” he said at a news conference.


Key Bridge collapse Baltimore

The fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is pictured on Sunday. On Monday, officials said a 200-ton chunk of the bridge was lifted away and a temporary channel was opened.  (AP/Mike Pesoli)

The next section of the bridge planned to be cut will weigh around 350 tons, Moore said. Conditions in the water where the structure rests have made it difficult for divers to see and conduct underwater operations, authorities said. 

“It is more complicated than we had hoped for initially,” said Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath. “The conditions on the diving, it is very difficult down below.”

Portions of the bridge are tangled together, he said. 

“These girders are essentially tangled together and intertwined, making it very difficult to figure out where you need to eventually cut,” Gilreath said.

Moore said officials “cannot overstate the complexity” of the operation. 


NTSB onboard Dali cargo ship

In this image released by the National Transportation and Safety Board, a NTSB investigator is seen Wednesday on the cargo vessel Dali, which struck and collapsed the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.  (Peter Knudson/NTSB/AP)

Six construction workers died when the bridge collapsed after being hit by the Dali cargo ship in the early hours of March 26. As of Monday, only two bodies had been recovered from the waters of the Patapsco River. 

A temporary 11-foot deep channel opened Monday on the bridge’s northeast side for vessels involved in the clearing of debris, Moore said. Officials said they hope to open another temporary channel that would be 15-feet deep. 

“We have two transits scheduled this evening for some barges and tugs to get out of the Port of Baltimore,” said Gilreath. “These are stepping stones toward finishing a marathon.”

Moore also said 57 businesses had applied for low-interest disaster loans since the program launched on Saturday. Businesses impacted by the bridge collapse could qualify for up to $2 million to pay their bills and employees. 

In an aerial view, the cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)


Officials are still trying to determine how to rebuild the bridge, which was completed in 1977. President Biden will visit the site of the collapse on Friday. 

“He’s going to see the unprecedented level of damage that this has caused,” Moore said. “He’s going to see the fact that we have a ship that is almost the size of the Eiffel Tower that weighs about as much as the Washington Monument that’s sitting  in the middle of the Patapsco River.”

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