The Baltimore Bridge was blown up in a controlled explosion

  • By Rachel Looker & Mike Wendling
  • BBC News

video title, Watch: Baltimore Bridge demolished with controlled explosions

A portion of a collapsed bridge in Baltimore has been intentionally destroyed, paving the way for a full return of shipping along one of America’s busiest shipping lanes.

On March 26 a ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed, killing six construction workers.

Fragments of the bridge that was demolished on Monday.

The surgery was delayed over the weekend due to bad weather.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed after colliding with the freighter Daly, which lost power and drifted off course.

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

The 948-foot (289 m) ship remains at the scene after the accident and is covered with scrap metal from the bridge. A total of 21 crew members, most of them Indians, are still on board maintaining the vessel. The crew members were sheltering on board when the controlled explosion occurred on Monday.

Officials said the demolition proceeded as planned. This comes after the body of the sixth and final victim in the incident was recovered last week.

Shortly after 17:00 Eastern Time (21:00 GMT) a large explosion was heard, and pieces of the bridge fell into the water.

Officials said they used a controlled explosion to make the precise cuts, hoping to free the Daly to return to Baltimore Harbor.

The multi-commodity port, the nation’s busiest for car exports, was closed after the collapse, although some shipping has resumed through temporary channels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it aims to restore full capacity by the end of May.

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

“After we make the precision cutting, we’ll go back and survey the channel, as well as inspect the dolly around, to make sure there are no obstructions that could interfere with traffic through that precision cutting,” said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath. “We will then reopen the limited access channel to traffic at a specified time.”

Officials in the state of Maryland estimate it will cost up to $1.9bn (£1.5bn) and take more than four years to rebuild the bridge.

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg told the BBC last week that the closure of the channel had “definitely” affected supply chains.

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

The city of Baltimore sued the ship’s owners, Grace Ocean Pvt Ltd and its manager, Synergy Marine Pvt Ltd, alleging gross negligence and recklessness. The companies have asked the court to reduce their liability for the incident.

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