Controlled Demolition of Collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge Set for May 13

The controlled demolition of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is rescheduled for May 13, 2024, after a weather delay. Demolition crews will use precision cutting and explosives to remove a 500-foot, 600-ton steel span that fell onto a cargo ship, killing six workers.

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Controlled Demolition of Collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge Set for May 13

Controlled Demolition of Collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge Set for May 13

The controlled demolition of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, is now scheduled for Monday, May 13, 2024, at 5 p.m. after being postponed due to inclement weather. The operation aims to remove a 500-foot, 600-ton steel span that fell onto the Dali cargo ship when it crashed into the bridge, killing six construction workers.

Why this matters: The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has significant implications for the maritime industry and the local economy, as it affects the flow of goods and commerce in the region. The successful demolition and reopening of the port will be crucial in minimizing the economic impact of thedisaster.

Demolition crews will use precision cutting techniques, making strategic cuts in the steel beams and placing small explosive charges to break apart the key section of the bridge. Col. Estee Pinchasin, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, explained that the process will result in "poofs of smoke with a sound similar to loud thunder" rather than a "big fireball explosion."

The steel truss resting on the deck of the Dali is roughly 500 feet long, 80 feet wide, and weighs 8-12 million pounds. The frame is under tremendous pressure and tension, requiring the utmost caution during the demolition process. The Key Bridge Response Unified Command is working with the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to issue a cellular notification to nearby residents before the controlled demolition begins.

A 2,000-yard safety zone around the bridge wreckage remains in effect to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment. Hearing protection is not required outside the 2,000-yard radius, as sound levels will only last between two to five seconds and will be no louder than a standard fireworks show. Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies will provide perimeter security, and the public has been discouraged from spectating the demolition.

The Port of Baltimore has established temporary alternate channels since the bridge collapse as part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anticipates that the port's permanent 700-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep channel will reopen with normal capacity by the end of May. Capt. David O'Connell, Key Bridge Response federal on-scene coordinator, stated, "We remain focused on restoring the Marine Transportation System while ensuring the protection of the public and the environment."

The incident that led to the bridge's collapse is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI, with a focus on the Dali's electrical system. The ship's 21-member crew has remained onboard since the crash and will shelter in place during the demolition. Once the steel span is removed, the Dali will be refloated and guided back into the Port of Baltimore, likely remaining there for a few weeks before moving to a shipyard for more substantial repairs.

Key Takeaways

  • Francis Scott Key Bridge demolition rescheduled for May 13, 2024, at 5 p.m.
  • 500-foot, 600-ton steel span to be removed using precision cutting and explosives.
  • Demolition aims to reopen Port of Baltimore, minimizing economic impact.
  • 2,000-yard safety zone in effect; public discouraged from spectating.
  • Port expected to reopen with normal capacity by end of May.