Crews tentatively expected to use explosives Monday to demolish part of collapsed Baltimore bridge

ByNicole Grether and Gloria Pazmino, CNN CNNWire logo
Sunday, May 12, 2024
Baltimore Bridge Collapse
The Baltimore shipping channel where the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed has fully reopened following the catastrophic collision in March.

BALTIMORE -- Crews are expected to move forward Monday with a plan to use small explosives to break apart a massive chunk of the Baltimore bridge that collapsed on a cargo ship six weeks ago after poor weather conditions forced delays on Saturday and Sunday.

Officials are tentatively scheduled to carry out the controlled demolition around 5 p.m. EST, according to the US Coast Guard. It was originally slated to take place Saturday, but officials on Friday announced it would be postponed due to an adverse weather forecast.

The project was delayed again on Sunday after lightning was spotted near the site, officials tell ABC News.

SEE ALSO | Body of 6th Baltimore bridge collapse victim recovered, authorities say

The planned demolition is aimed at helping officials remove debris and ultimately free the 213-million-pound Dali cargo ship, which veered off course March 26 and struck a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to fall into the water below. The collapse killed six construction workers and destroyed a key thoroughfare, threatening the economy at the Port of Baltimore.

Officials last week recovered the sixth and final body, allowing them to proceed with the plan to free the Dali. If the operation succeeds this weekend, the ship could be refloated and returned to the Port of Baltimore as soon as this week, The Baltimore Sun and CNN affiliate WBAL previously reported.

"The safest and swiftest method to remove the bridge piece from on top of the M/V Dali is by precision cuts made with small charges," the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said in a news release last week.

"This is an industry-standard tool in controlled demolition that will break the span into smaller pieces," it added, "which will allow the work of refloating the vessel and removing it from the federal channel."

READ MORE | First cargo ship passes through newly opened channel in Baltimore since bridge collapse

According to an infographic from the US Army and the US Army Corps of Engineers, the process will "look like multiple puffs of smoke and sound like fireworks." Nearby communities should receive a "cellular notification" beforehand, according to Unified Command, which includes state and federal authorities, the US Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers among them.

In the meantime, several investigations continue into the cause of the disaster and who is responsible. The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure plans to hold a hearing Wednesday on the catastrophe, with testimony expected from the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board and officials from the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the US Department of Transportation.

ABC News and CNN's Paradise Afshar, Holly Yan and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.

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