Key Bridge: Precise small charges to cut steel debris on cargo ship

Part of Francis Scott key Bridge on top of the ontainer ship Dali
U.s. Army Corps of Engineers

Workers removing debris from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore today said they will use what it called "precision cuts made with small charges" to remove a large section of the steel wreckage from on top of the container ship Dali, which caused the collapse of the bridge when it struck a support on March 26.

At the same time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the emergency order exempting some truckers from hours of service regulations. The order was extended 30 days to June 8.

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command overseeing the project said small charges, a standard controlled demolition tool, will split the large section of steel truss at specific locations to create multiple, smaller sections, which allows salvors to use cranes and barges already on scene to remove these sections of the bridge and ultimately remove the Dali from the channel.

“We remain focused on restoring the marine transportation system, while ensuring the protection of the public and the environment,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Key Bridge Response Federal On-Scene Coordinator. “By using precision cuts, we reduce risks to our personnel and can safely and efficiently continue clearing the channel for the Port of Baltimore.”

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command coordinated with Maryland Department of Emergency Management to issue a cellular notification ahead of the controlled demolition to maximize awareness to the communities near the bridge.

The Key Bridge order first was extended on April 4, offering relief of certain regulations through Wednesday, May 8 for commercial motor vehicles providing direct assistance.

FMCSA said direct assistance includes:

  • Transportation related to the immediate restoration of essential services at the Port of Baltimore
  • Transportation of commodities re-routed due to the disruptions to vessel traffic into the port
  • Transportation of gasoline, ethanol, propane, natural gas and heating oil from Curtis Bay terminal for delivery to Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Frederick County, Hartford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County and Washington County

Commercial motor vehicles providing emergency assistance are granted relief from maximum driving-time requirements for property-carrying vehicles