Engineers begin removing the mangled wreckage of the Baltimore Key Bridge

<span>Demolition crews cut the upper part of the north end of the bridge into smaller sections so it could be safely removed by crane in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 30, 2024.</span>Photo: Kimberly Reaves/US COAST GUARD/AFP /Getty Images</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/” data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Demolition crews cut the upper part of the north side of the bridge into smaller sections for safe removal by crane in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 30, 2024.Photo: Kimberly Reaves/US COAST GUARD/AFP/Getty Images

A team of engineers has begun the dangerous and complex job of removing the mangled wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from the Patapsco River outside of Baltimore, Maryland’s top federal and state government officials emphasized Sunday. that the health of the US national economy depended on it.

The officials took to the political talk shows Sunday to praise the emergency crews now assembled in Patapsco who have begun the delicate process of cutting and lifting steel debris from the north side of the destroyed bridge. Wes Moore, the governor of Maryland, said the operation was extremely complicated.

Related: As the cleanup of the Baltimore bridge begins, fears of environmental contamination arise

“We have a ship that’s almost the size of the Eiffel Tower that is now stuck inside the channel with the Key Bridge sitting on top of it,” he told CNN’s State of the Union. He added that the collapse of the bridge, which occurred six days ago when the 985-foot cargo ship the Dali lost power and crashed into the structure, was not a local economic disaster, but a national economic disaster.

“This port is one of the busiest ports in the country. This will affect the farmer in Kentucky, the car dealer in Ohio, the restaurant owner in Tennessee,” he said.

It is estimated that approximately 15,000 people directly depend on the Port of Baltimore for their livelihoods, and an additional 140,000 jobs will be indirectly affected. The port handles the shipping of more cars and light trucks than any other in the United States, and is also a major hub for agricultural equipment.

Last year, more than 1m cargo containers passed through. That represented more than 50m tonnes of foreign cargo, worth about $80bn.

Pete Buttigieg, the US transportation secretary, was unable to give CBS News’ Face the Nation a timeline for removing or rebuilding the stricken bridge. He noted that it took about five years to build the original bridge, although that is no indication of how long it will take to replace it.

Buttigieg said the Biden administration may have to go to Congress to approve federal funds, which are expected to pay up to 90% of the recovery costs. So far only $60m has been made available from an emergency pot held by the Federal Highway Administration.

Asked by CBS News why skeptical lawmakers should vote for what promises to be a multimillion-dollar project, Buttigieg said: “The pitch is: your district could be first.” another. And this has historically been bipartisan.”

James Clyburn, the influential Democratic member of Congress from South Carolina, emphasized that point on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The fact of the matter is, every one of us, every state in the nation, all 50 of us, will take our turn and we need this kind of help,” he said.

Clyburn added: “It could be windstorms in some places, it could be a flood, or here in this part of the country, a hurricane. We are all subject to some form of disaster at one time or another.”

Brandon Scott, the mayor of Baltimore, who is Black, has faced an ugly wave of conservative attacks on social media against him since the bridge disaster. A user on X tried it as “Mayor DEI Baltimore”.

When asked about the abuse on CBS News’ Face the Nation, Scott said the backlash was coming from those who were “too afraid to use the N-word.” He added: “I’m a young Black man, a young Black mayor. I know how racism goes in this country.”

Moore, the state’s Black governor, is also caught up in the rightwing backlash that tried to link the bridge collapse with progressive politics and initiatives promoting the concept of DEI (short for diversity, equity and inclusion), especially after the 2020 police murder .George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Phil Lyman, who is running for governor of Utah, posted on social media after the disaster that “this is what happens when you have governors who prioritize diversity over the welfare and security of citizens.”

Unlike Scott, Moore refused to respond to the trolling on Sunday. When CNN asked him if he thought the attacks were racist, he replied: “I have no time for stupidity. I’m making sure we can find closure and comfort for these families … I have no time for stupidity, so I’m not going to research it.”

The rescue operation has been tackled with the arrival of a huge crane capable of lifting 1,000 tonnes on the site, as well as six other floating cranes which are now at the scene of the disaster. According to the Associated Press, the cleanup teams also include 10 tugboats, nine barges and eight rescue vessels.

Addressing the human tragedy of the bridge collapse is a top priority for emergency workers. Eight construction workers were working on the bridge early Tuesday when the disaster occurred. Only two of them survived.

The bodies of two workers, Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, who were trapped underwater in their vehicle, have been recovered. Four other workers, who are believed to have died, are still to be found.

Scott said a fund set up to help the families of those who died has reached over $300,000. “We will support them during this time, and that may include ongoing trauma care in the future,” he said.

Beyond the loss of life, the main structural priority at the collapsed bridge site is to open a channel to allow smaller boats to enter and exit the port. The main goal of allowing large ships in and out is expected to take much longer.

Recovery operations are being hampered by the freezing water in which the wreck is partially submerged. Sinking metal beams also increase the risk of the job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *