Salvage crews to lift first piece of collapsed Baltimore bridge By Reuters

By David Lawder and Joel Schectman

(Reuters) – Salvage crews must raise the first section of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed from the water on Saturday to allow boats and barges to access the site, Maryland and U.S. officials said, the first step in a difficult effort. reopen the city’s closed port.

A steel bridge collapsed early Tuesday morning, killing six road workers, when the main train of the train lost power and fell on the support pylon, sending a large amount of time that fell into the Patapsco River, blocking the shipping channel of the Port of Baltimore.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore told a press conference that part of the steel bridge north of the crash site will be cut into pieces that can be lifted by crane on a boat and brought to a site near Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point.

“This will allow us to open a temporary blockade that will allow us to locate more vessels in the waters near the crash site,” Moore said.

He declined to give a timeline for this phase of the delictification process. “It won’t take hours,” he said. “It won’t take days, but when we finish this part of the project, we can move more boats and more boats in the area to speed up the recovery.”

Crews will not yet attempt to remove the broken part of the bridge on the bow of the Dali, the 984 Singaporean submarine that lowered the bridge. Moore said it was unclear when the ship would be moved, but said the statue, though damaged, “is immovable.”

“This is a very difficult job,” Moore said of trying to clear debris from the bridge and open the Port of Baltimore to shipping.

The bodies of two bridge maintenance workers at the time of the crash have been recovered, but Moore said efforts to rescue the other four presumed dead are being halted because conditions are too dangerous for divers to work amid the debris.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath told reporters that teams from the Coast Guard, the US Navy salvage arm and the US Army Corps of Engineers said the debris in the Patapsco River must be removed before Dali can be moved. .

Saturday’s operation involves cutting a section north of the channel and lifting it with 160 tonnes of water onto a barge. A larger, 1,000-ton crane is also in place on the bridge.

The piece will be brought to Tradepoint Atlantic, the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill that is being planned as a distribution center for companies including (NASDAQ:), Home Depot (NYSE:) and Volkswagen (ETR:). The site’s port, located on the Chesapeake Bay side of the bridge, is fully operational.

Five days after the disaster, the jobs of about 15,000 people whose jobs are limited to daily port visits are suspended. While logistics experts say other East Coast ports have to deal with increased container traffic, Baltimore is the largest U.S. port for automobile imports and exports of farm equipment and construction.

US Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said the Small Business Administration has approved the state’s request for a disaster declaration that allows small businesses affected by the disaster to apply for low-interest loans of up to $2 million through the end of 2024.

The state on Thursday gave Maryland an initial $60 million in funding to clear debris and begin rebuilding the Key Bridge, the most immediate payment. President Joe Biden has pledged that the federal government will fund the removal of the debris and rebuild the bridge.

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