Salvage Crews Work to Remove Wreckage of Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

Salvage crews race to remove massive wreckage from collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, impacting regional commerce. Authorities investigate cause as they aim to reopen the port by May.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Salvage Crews Work to Remove Wreckage of Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

Salvage Crews Race to Remove Collapsed Baltimore Bridge Debris

Nearly three weeks after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, salvage crews are working around the clock to remove the massive wreckage from the waterway. Using the largest crane on the Eastern Seaboard, workers are hauling debris to a nearby salvage yard, with the heaviest section recovered so far measuring approximately 450 tons.

At the salvage yard, crews are disassembling the metal trusses using propane torches and giant shears. The salvage operation is a complex and dangerous process, as divers must first survey the underwater wreckage to assess how to safely extract the various parts. Over 1,000 tons of steel have been removed from the waterway so far.

The collapse on March 26 resulted in the deaths of six construction workers. Salvage crews are hoping to recover the two remaining bodies once more of the debris has been cleared. The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into the circumstances leading up to the bridge collapse, including whether the cargo ship Dali experienced electrical issues before leaving the port and striking one of the bridge's supports.

Why this matters: The Port of Baltimore has remained largely closed since the collapse, significantly impacting commerce in the region. Officials are aiming to open a temporary channel later this month to allow more commercial traffic to resume, with the goal of reopening the port's main channel by the end of May.

Maryland's governor has called on federal lawmakers to authorize the government to pay for 100% of the cleanup and reconstruction, which would require bipartisan support. The Key Bridge took five years to construct in the 1970s, and now it's a race against the clock to dismantle the remnants of this fallen Baltimore landmark.

Key Takeaways

  • Salvage crews work to remove 450-ton wreckage of collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge.
  • Over 1,000 tons of steel have been removed from the waterway so far.
  • FBI investigating if cargo ship Dali experienced electrical issues before striking bridge.
  • Port of Baltimore largely closed, impacting regional commerce; temporary channel to open soon.
  • Maryland seeks federal funding for 100% of cleanup and reconstruction of the bridge.