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Army Corps gives tour of ‘very dangerous, very complex’ Key Bridge salvage site


By Paul Gessler

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    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Key Bridge crews worked Thursday to rig a large portion of steel from the collapsed bridge in preparation to move it to the nearby salvage yard at Sparrows Point.

Known as Section 0, the massive debris piece is from the center of the span. Crews hope to remove it from the collapse site in the next couple of days.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers debris vessel gave WJZ a tour of the complex salvage operation on Thursday.

“They were having to stop because of the lightning we saw yesterday,” Colonel Estee Pinchasin of the US Army Corps of Engineers said. “The work that’s taking place is very dangerous, very complex in an unforgiving environment.”

More than 1,110 tons of steel have been removed from the site and taken to nearby Tradepoint Atlantic.

Cranes have removed more than 100 containers from the Dali ship, which remains pinned down in the riverbed with a portion of bridge truss and concrete from the road resting on top. Dozens more containers must be removed before removal of the ship can be attempted.

“There’s no breach of the hull. There’s no breach of the tanks,” Captain Dave O’Connell of the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The bridge truss severed a piece of the front of the Dali about eight feet above the water line, according to Capt. O’Connell.

“The span that’s laying across the vessel itself is 5,000 tons,” Col. Pinchasin said.

Commanders praised divers and salvage crews for safe and steady progress in challenging conditions.

“With every lift that’s taking place, there are lessons to be learned,” Col. Pinchasin said. “(Crane operators) make it look graceful, but it’s extremely challenging.”

Among the tangled steel, concrete and rebar there are two missing construction workers in the water. If anything resembling a vehicle or human remains is spotted, work stops immediately. A team of ten divers is on standy to enter the water if that happens.

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