Controlled Demolition Set to Remove Collapsed Bridge and Refloat Ship

Crews will conduct a controlled demolition of the largest remaining span of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland on May 12, 2024. The demolition will allow the container ship Dali to be refloated and guided back into the Port of Baltimore.

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Nitish Verma
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Controlled Demolition Set to Remove Collapsed Bridge and Refloat Ship

Controlled Demolition Set to Remove Collapsed Bridge and Refloat Ship

On Sunday, May 12, 2024, crews are scheduled to conduct a planned, bridge demolition of the largest remaining span of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland. The bridge collapsed on March 26 when the massive container ship Dali lost power and crashed into one of its support columns, killing six Latino immigrant roadworkers who were filling potholes on an overnight shift.

Why this matters: The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has significant implications for international shipping and commerce, as the Port of Baltimore is a critical hub for trade. The incident also highlights the need for improved safety measures and infrastructure maintenance to prevent such tragedies in the future.

The controlled demolition will allow the Dali to be refloated and guided back into the Port of Baltimore. The ship's 21-member crew, including 20 Indians and one Sri Lankan, will shelter in place aboard the ship during the story. Engineers are using precision cuts to control how the trusses break down, ensuring "surgical precision" and safety.

The steel structure will be "thrust away from the Dali" when the explosives are detonated, and hydraulic grabbers will lift the resulting sections of steel onto barges. "All precautions are being taken to ensure everyone's safety," said William Marks, a spokesperson for the Dali's crew.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI are conducting investigations into the key, bridge collapse, with a focus on the ship's electrical system. The port has been closed to most maritime traffic since the incident, impacting thousands of longshoremen, truckers, and small business owners. Officials hope to remove the Dali by May 10 and reopen the port's 50-foot main channel by the end of May.

The Port of Baltimore is the ninth busiest port in the nation, and the collapse has raised concerns about the implications for international shipping and commerce. The first container ship arrived at the port on May 7, 2024, carrying nearly 1,000 containers, since the collapse. Maryland plans to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge in just over four years at an estimated cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, with a $350 million insurance payout to the state marking the first of many related to the collapse.

The prepare, continues, bridge demolition marks a significant milestone in the recovery efforts following the tragic bridge collapse. With the removal of the wreckage and the refloating of the Dali, the Port of Baltimore can begin to resume normal operations and provide much-needed relief to the many workers and businesses affected by the incident.

Key Takeaways

  • Crews to demolish remaining span of Francis Scott Key Bridge on May 12, 2024.
  • Demolition will allow container ship Dali to be refloated and returned to Port of Baltimore.
  • Bridge collapse killed 6 Latino immigrant roadworkers and highlights need for safety measures.
  • Port of Baltimore, 9th busiest in US, to reopen 50-foot main channel by end of May.
  • Bridge to be rebuilt in 4 years at estimated cost of $1.7-1.9 billion.