USA News

Baltimore bridge blown up in controlled demolition

  • By Rachel Looker and Mike Wendling
  • BBC News

Video caption, Watch: Baltimore Bridge Demolished With Controlled Explosions

Part of a collapsed bridge in Baltimore was deliberately destroyed, paving the way for the eventual return of shipping to one of America’s busiest shipping routes.

A ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, causing it to collapse and killing six construction workers.

Monday’s demolition broke off pieces of the collapsed bridge.

The operation was delayed this weekend due to bad weather.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after being struck by a cargo ship, the Dali, which lost power and veered off course.

The collision sent approximately 4,000 tons of debris into the Patapsco River.

The 948-foot (289 m) vessel has remained at the scene since the accident and is covered in scrap metal from the deck. A total of 21 crew members, mostly Indian, are still on board the Dali and maintaining the ship. Crew members took shelter on board the ship during Monday’s controlled explosion.

Authorities said the demolition went as planned. This came after the body of the sixth and final victim of the incident was found last week.

A loud explosion was heard shortly after 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (9:00 p.m. GMT), and pieces of the bridge fell into the water.

Officials said they used the controlled detonation to make precise cuts, hoping to free the Dali, which will return to Baltimore Harbor.

The port, which handles a variety of goods and is the country’s busiest for transporting cars, was closed after the collapse, although some transportation has resumed through temporary routes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it aims to restore full capacity by the end of May.

At a news conference earlier Monday, officials said they hoped to move the ship within two days.

“After carrying out the precision cut, we will go back and survey the canal again as well as around the Dali to ensure that there are no obstacles from this precision cut that could impede traffic” , said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral. Shannon Gilreath. “Then we will reopen the canal with limited access to traffic at that specific time.”

Maryland state officials estimate that rebuilding the bridge will cost up to $1.9 billion (£1.5 billion) and take more than four years.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told the BBC last week that the chain’s closure was “definitely” having an impact on supply chains.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the collapse.

The City of Baltimore sued the ship’s owners, Grace Ocean Private Limited, and its manager, Synergy Marine Private Limited, for gross negligence and recklessness. The companies asked the court to limit their liability in this incident.

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