Largest Floating Crane on East Coast Will Help Clear Baltimore Bridge

Courtesy of Baltimore Country Police Department

Published Mar 28, 2024 11:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a press briefing Thursday, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore pledged to restore the damage from the Francis Scott Key Bridge's collapse, but cautioned that it would not happen quickly. 

"This is an incredibly complex job, and our timeline will be long," Moore said. "We've got work to do, but we're moving."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading the initial cleanup, and the Biden administration has provided an initial tranche of $60 million to start the work. The largest crane ship on the East Coast is already under way, and it is expected to reach Baltimore late Thursday to prepare for lifting debris. The Port of Baltimore shared an image of the crane barge, Donjon's Chesapeake 1000. 

First, though, the USACE will make a thorough survey of the complex wreckage and determine the best places to make cuts. 

"I want to be clear, this work will not take hours. This work will not take days. This work will not just take weeks," Moore said. "We have a very long road ahead of us." 

The recovery work may also help locate the remains of a group of construction workers who are missing and presumed dead. Two of their colleagues survived and were rescued by first responders; two deceased victims were recovered by police divers from a pickup truck; and four individuals remain missing. 

After the state police ceased searching the site with dive teams on Wednesday, they used a small ROV with sonar to scan the wreckage. That initial survey turned up a vehicle that could be related to the four missing construction crewmembers.

"We know there is at least one vehicle, larger in size, that is completely encapsulated by the superstructure of the bridge - concrete, rebar, etcetera. It's going to take some time to get to that," said state police chief Colonel Roland L. Butler, Jr.