Workers begin removing debris from collapsed section of Baltimore Key Bridge

Workers begin removing debris from collapsed section of Baltimore Key Bridge
Baltimore to receive $60 million in federal funds to rebuild

Crews started lifting the first section of Baltimore’s collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge from the water on Saturday, a move aimed at allowing access for barges and tugboats to reach the disaster site.

The workers are currently focusing on lifting a section of the bridge while leaving the crumpled part resting on the bow of the Dali, the container ship responsible for the bridge collapse, officials said.

The operation involved cutting a piece just north of the channel and lifting it with a 160-ton marine crane onto a barge.

It comes after enormous cranes arrived in Baltimore to help clear the wreckage, which officials say is an essential step before recovery efforts to find the missing construction workers.

One of the cranes, the Chesapeake 1000, is capable of lifting 1,000 tonnes — but the bridge is estimated to weigh around three or four times that, so it will need to be cut into sections,

Meanwhile, US president Joe Biden said on Friday he will go to Baltimore next week.

He also announced he has approved $60m in initial aid to rebuild the bridge.

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Baker commuting over Baltimore bridge did not hear crash because of loud radio

A Baltimore baker who drove over the Francis Scott Key Bridge seconds before its collapse, says he had been blissfully unaware of the catastrophe until receiving a call from a panicked co-worker.

Read the full story here:

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 12:00

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Watch: Maryland governor says recovery efforts are ’round the clock’ after Baltimore bridge collapse

Maryland governor says recovery efforts are ’round the clock’ after Baltimore bridge collapse

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 11:00

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How much will the bridge cost and who will pay?

President Joe Biden promised to visit Baltimore soon and said he wanted the federal government to pay to rebuild the bridge.

The Transportation Department on Thursday awarded $60 million in “quick release” emergency relief funds to aid in clearing debris and begin the process of rebuilding.

To replace the bridge, Congress would need to approve funding. After the bridge collapse in 2007 in Minnesota, Congress allocated $250 million.

Initial estimates put the cost of rebuilding the bridge at $600 million, according to economic analysis company IMPLAN.

Federal officials have told Maryland lawmakers the final cost of rebuilding the bridge could soar to at least $2 billion, Roll Call reported, citing a source familiar with the discussions.

Insurers could face billions of dollars in claims, analysts said, with one putting the cost at as much as $4 billion, which would make the tragedy a record shipping insurance loss.

Stuti Mishra31 March 2024 10:00

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Recap: Four bodies remain unaccounted for

Four bodies are still missing after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed on Tuesday morning.

Divers found the two victims trapped in a red pickup truck a little before 10 am on Wednesday in about 25 feet of water around the bridge’s middle span.

They were identified as construction workers Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk, Maryland.

Meanwhile, four other missing construction workers remain unaccounted for.

On Tuesday, officials said two people had been rescued alive from the water. One was uninjured while the other was in a serious condition.

Though search efforts were previously paused, Maryland authorities say that rescue divers are currently “on standby” and will return to the waters when conditions improve.

(Viral Press)

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 09:00

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How long will it take to rebuild the Baltimore bridge?

Rebuilding Baltimore’s collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge could be a lengthy process and will depend on whether any of the remaining structures can be salvaged.

Experts say it could take anywhere from 18 months to several years.

It took five years to construct the original bridge from 1972-1977.

Stuti Mishra31 March 2024 08:00

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Biden told teams to ‘move heaven and earth’ to aid bridge collapse emergency response

President Joe Biden intructed federal authorities to “move heaven and earth” to help with emergency responses to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge on Tuesday.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president had directed a “whole-of-government response” and wanted work to begin on rebuilding the bridge “as soon as humanly possible”.

“After he was briefed on the collapse, President Biden immediately instructed his team to move heaven and earth to aid in the emergency response and help build — rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible,” Ms Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press conference.

“Within hours of the bridge’s collapse, President Biden spoke to Governor Moore, Senator Cardin, Senator Van Hollen, Congressman Mfume, as well as Baltimore’s mayor and county executive. The President’s message to them was clear: We will be with the people of Baltimore every step of the way.”

She added that Mr Biden remains in close contact with US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The president is due to visit Baltimore next week.

(AP)

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 07:01

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Crews begin work to lift a piece of collapsed bridge

Crews started lifting the first section of Baltimore’s collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge from the water on Saturday, a move aimed at allowing access for barges and tugboats to reach the disaster site.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said that a collaborative effort involving teams from the Coast Guard, the US Navy’s salvage arm, and the US Army Corps of Engineers is underway.

The workers are currently focusing on lifting a section of the bridge while leaving the crumpled part resting on the bow of the Dali, the container ship responsible for the bridge collapse, officials said.

The operation on Saturday involved cutting a piece just north of the channel and lifting it with a 160-ton marine crane onto a barge. A larger, 1,000-ton crane is also deployed at the bridge site.

Once lifted, the piece will be transported to Tradepoint Atlantic, the former Bethlehem Steel Mill site, which is being transformed into a distribution centre.

Governor Wes Moore declined to provide a timeline for this portion of the clearance work.

“It’s not going to take hours,” he said. “It’s not going to take days, but once we complete this phase of the work, we can move more tugs and more barges and more boats into the area to accelerate our recovery.”

Stuti Mishra31 March 2024 06:00

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In photos: the scene of the collapse

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 05:05

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Pete Buttigieg bashes misinformation surrounding cause of collapse

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called it “upsetting” that in the face of tragedy – the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge – conspiracy theories have circulated to explain what caused the disaster that left six people to be presumed dead.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out there have been “wild conspiracy theories” about what caused the disaster, ranging from a cyberattack, the captain having side effects from a Covid-19 vaccine, and blaming the Obamas.

She asked Mr Buttigieg whether he thought he would have to combat these conspiracy theories in the midst of a crisis?

“We’re in the business of dealing with roads and bridges and sometimes ships and trains,” he said. “So we are not in the habit as a Department of Transportation, of being in the business of dealing with conspiracies, or conspiracy theories or that kind of wild thinking. But unfortunately, it is a fact of life in America today.

“What’s really upsetting is when misinformation or disinformation circulates, that is not without victims.

“This is a human tragedy,” Mr Buttigieg said, adding that six men lost their lives.

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 04:00

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First stage of removing debris by crane ‘remarkably important moment’

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said that the first debris lift, due to take place later on Saturday, was a “remarkably important moment”.

Mr Moore told reporters at a press conference that the piece of bridge scheduled to be removed by crane was not one currently on top of the Dali container ship.

“We still do not yet have a timeline as to when we can actually begin lifting pieces off of the Dali, but we know that today is a remarkably important moment, but one that still is going to take further evaluation as to what type of impact that’s going to have on the remainder of the mission,” he said.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath added: “The piece of the northern part of the bridge is going to be lifted today, I believe has been cut… I can’t tell you where they are in the stage of the actual lifting but is scheduled to be lifted today.”

Mr Gilreath said he was unsure of the exact dimensions of the piece, but that it was part of the “top section” of the bridge.

“It’s gonna take the day to do it. I mean, they had to do the engineering process to plan how we could make those cuts,” he said. “They’re making those cuts, then they’re going to have to put straps to rig it, and then they will rig it and they will set it on a barge so it can be brought back here.”

Mike Bedigan31 March 2024 03:00

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