NewsKey Bridge Collapse


Salvage work continues on board the Dali and at Key Bridge wreckage site

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 24, 2024

BALTIMORE — To evaluate the progress, we have to look back. Just a few days after the collapse, salvage crews had their work cut out for them.

Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Giles  
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

Almost two months later - most of the wreckage is gone.

One of the biggest milestones that got us here was the controlled demolition of the huge span lying across the bow of the Dali.

But that brought a new challenge too. When the steel broke apart and crashed into the water. A piece resting against the ship remained. The demolition caused it to sink deeper into the river.

"We had to now examine how the wreckage sits again, because at first it was laying up and over the Dali and as it sank down we had a whole new problem set that we had to re-analyze," Colonel Estee Pinchasin from the Army Corps of Engineers' Baltimore district said. "We're going to be cutting that span into three smaller sections."

While WMAR-2 News was out on the water with the Army Corps today, the first of three pieces of that span was lifted out of the river and taken to Sparrows Point for recycling. That piece weighs about 200 tons. The remaining two weigh more than 500 tons each.

As that salvage work continues, activity has resumed at the Port of Baltimore. A channel that's wide enough for all ships to pass through opened earlier this week. But there's still restrictions - the channel is limited to one-way traffic. It's now expected to fully reopen some time between June 8th-10th.

"After that you'll still see equipment out there working in the channel to get the wreckage that was below the mudline. We don't want to leave any steel behind,” Pinchasin said. "We are not gonna stop until we completely go through with a magnetometer; it's basically metal detecting on steroids."

The support columns that remain in the Patapsco will be handled by the state, and will be removed as part of the reconstruction process.

Debris removal also continues on board the Dali, docked at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. You can see crews standing on top of the piece of roadway that's still draped across the ship. That work will continue for at least another month before it's moved to Norfolk, Virginia for more extensive repairs.

As for the cargo, originally destined for Sri Lanka, the damaged containers will be removed. Everything else will stay on until it reaches Virginia. After that, it's unclear. The management company for the Dali, Synergy Marine, said the priority now is focusing on debris removal and getting shore leave for the crew.