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A big day and week for Baltimore Key Bridge clean-up and investigation

  • Scott LaMar

Airdate: Monday, May 13, 2024

A major milestone in the clean-up of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is scheduled for Monday afternoon after being postponed over the weekend. Explosives will be used to clear eight to 12 million pounds of the collapsed bridge from the front of the container ship, Dali.

The plan is to clear the debris and allow the Dali to be towed away — opening the Port of Baltimore to shipping.

On March 26th, the Dali lost power and collided with the Key Bridge’s support piers causing the bridge to fall into the Patapsco River. Six construction workers were killed when the bridge fell into the water.

The Key Bridge is only 46 miles from the Pennsylvania border, 59 miles from York and 88 miles from Harrisburg. Many Central Pennsylvanians travel Interstate 695 that crossed the bridge.

The most significant impact may be on shipping to the Port of Baltimore – one of the nation’s busiest ports — especially for the import of vehicles.

To get an update on the story, The Spark turned to Robert Lang, an award-winning anchor reporter with WBAL News Radio and longtime radio and TV journalist in Pennsylvania.

WBAL News Radio anchor/reporter Robert Lang

Lang called the clearing of the Dali through the use of explosives complex, “Once this happens, assume this all goes as planned,  they will reopen the temporary shipping channel that’s allowing some major ships to move through, and they hope to re-float the Dali and send it back to port. That would take place as early as Wednesday.”

Progress is being made on land too. Lang added that the timetable for Exit 44 of I-695 to re-open is Wednesday.

It will take about four years and cost between $1.6 million and $1.9 million to replace the Key Bridge.

President Biden said that the federal government will pay for the replacement project. Central Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Scott Perry said that would be inappropriate and indicated the ship’s owner should be paying for the clean-up and replacing the bridge. Lang said Maryland’s only Republican House member, Andy Harris, disagreed with Perry saying the bridge collapse and replacement isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue and that the bridge should be replaced as quickly as possible.

Perry is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which will hold a hearing on the Key Bridge disaster later this week. Lang talked about what will happen at that hearing,”This is mostly to monitor the federal response. So you will hear from the Coast Guard. You will hear from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), and their investigation on this. And interestingly enough, we haven’t really heard much from the NTSB publicly. We know that they are investigating. Since the disaster, they held, a briefing or two. March 26th and March 27th. And then they have, unlike, you know, plane crashes and other disasters when they’re on site, they’re used. They’ll usually do a daily briefing somewhere far away from, from the, the site, usually in some, usually in their hotel. They haven’t done that. So and we’re expecting at some point it could be this week. A preliminary report from the NTSB. And that will probably come during this hearing on Wednesday.”



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