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Collapsed Baltimore bridge to be blasted into pieces, removed from crippled ship

The work had been planned for May.12 but it was delayed because of weather conditions.

FILE PHOTO: View of the Dali cargo vessel which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge causing it to collapse in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., April 4, 2024. / REUTERS/Nathan Howard

(Reuters) - U.S. crews in Baltimore plan to set off controlled explosions on May.13 to allow them to remove a portion of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge from the bow of the massive container ship that toppled the span in March.

The detonations will break the bridge's truss into small sections, enabling salvage crews to use cranes and barges to haul away the twisted metal wreckage, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. The work had been planned for May.12 but it was delayed because of weather conditions.

Afterwards, crews will refloat the 948-foot Dali ship, remove it from the main channel and fully reopen the port, the Corps said.

In the early morning of March 26, the Dali lost power and crashed into a bridge support, sending the span into the Patapsco River, with a major portion draped over the Dali's bow. Six construction workers were killed.

The incident initially halted traffic at the Port of Baltimore, which ranks first in the United States in several cargo categories, including autos and light trucks, farm and construction machinery, imported sugar and imported gypsum, according to the state of Maryland.

Since the crash, four temporary channels have been opened, allowing for some shipping to resume. The Corps said it aims to restore port access to full capacity by the end of May.

Maryland estimates it will cost $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion to rebuild the bridge and anticipates completion by fall 2028.

In April, the FBI opened a criminal probe into the collapse. Safety investigators recovered the ship's "black box" recorder, which provides data on its position, speed, heading, radar, and bridge audio and radio communications, as well as alarms.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Frank McGurty and Josie Kao)

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