Key Bridge response operations deal with weather challenges

Written by Nick Blenkey
City of Baltimore hires lawyers

USCG Photo

The Unified Command responding to the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge was continuing to coordinate operations Wednesday, despite challenging weather conditions that included severe thunderstorms and high winds.

Trained crews, in conjunction with the Unified Command, were taking steps forward with operations and conducting routine salvage assessments, while evaluating the safest and most effective routes. Divers are on scene to conduct underwater surveys along with mapping out plans for future wreckage removal.

“Our operations continue but will be adjusted as necessary in response to any adverse weather conditions,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Frank Schiano, salvage branch Director of the Key Bridge Response 2024, “The Unified Command remains committed to re-opening the port while ensuring safety and environmental protection.”

Meantime, the USACE Baltimore District said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, “our engineers are now placing devices on each beam [of the Key Bridge] to understand how much force each beam is under — either how much it’s holding or how much it’s placing on another beam. This information will allow us to begin safely and efficiently cutting the metal into ‘bite-sized’ pieces light enough for Navy cranes to lift out of the water and take away, But just like in a game of Jenga, when you pull one piece away, you can change the math on the rest of the puzzle — and the kinds of pressure can shift beam to beam with each cut.”

USACE HQ tweeted imagery show exothermic torches being used to slice through bridge sections.

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