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Key Bridge salvage crews waste no time after Dali is floated to shore. What's next in the recovery effort.

Deepest temporary channel opens around Key Bridge collapse
Deepest temporary channel opens around Key Bridge collapse 03:17

BALTIMORE -- Crews got right back to work after the Dali cargo ship was unstuck from the wreckage of the Key Bridge in the Patapsco River on Monday, with Unified Command determined to reopen full access to the crippled Port of Baltimore by the end of May. 

Gov. Wes Moore watched from a boat as the Dali was tugged away Monday morning. He described the commitment he saw at the scene of the collapse, eight weeks to the day of the disaster.  

"What was amazing was this, even as the tugboats were pulling the Dali out, and the Dali was being moved over Seagirt - literally, as the Dali was still on the move - Unified Command and the salvage team was already back in one clearing steel chassis in the bus, still pulling tons of steel out of the water," the governor said Tuesday morning. "The mission never stopped."

Reopening access to the Port of Baltimore 

The Key Bridge collapsed after the Dali struck it on March 26, killing six bridge workers. The resulting wreckage in the Fort McHenry Channel cut off access to the port, impacting revenue and thousands of jobs. 

Admiral Gilreith of Unified Command, the multi-agency effort responding to the collapse, said Tuesday the team expects to meet its goal to reopen the entire 700-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep channel by the end of May. 

Salvage crews, using crane and barge assets already on site, will work to remove any remaining bridge wreckage, which will continue until the federal channel is restored to its original width and all steel below the mudline is removed.

Since the collapse, four temporary channels have opened to allow ships, including some commercial vessels. Gilreath said more than 500 commercial vessels have moved through alternate channels. 

Unified Command reopened a 400-foot wide by 50-foot deep temporary channel to 24/7 operations now that the ship has been moved. 

Gilreath said salvors are making "excellent progress" in the cleanup outside of the channel, and that the mangled steel of the wreckage can no longer be seen above the shoreline. 

Salvaging outside of the channel is expected to be complete sometime in June, he said. 

Moore "not satisfied" until bridge is replaced 

While he celebrated the refloating of the Dali on Tuesday and looks forward to the reopening of the channel, Moore said "completion" is the replacement of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a project expected to last years and cost well over a billion dollars. 

"I'm very moved by the fact that I can now look out over the Patapsco River and not see the Dali - it's a beautiful sight," Moore said. "But I will not be satisfied until I can look over the same site and see the Francis Scott Key Bridge standing again. That's mission completion."  

President Biden has said the federal government should pay for the entire cost of its reconstruction, and that he expects Congress to support the effort. 

Bipartisan support has been shown for the funding, and a congressional delegation introduced the Baltimore BRIDGE Relief Act, would have the federal government cover 100% of the cost of replacing the bridge

Work continues on the Dali 

After crews refloated the Dali Monday morning, it was tugged to a marine terminal with part of the collapsed bridge still on its bow. There, crews will continue work to remove bridge debris, damaged containers and make temporary repairs to the ship. 

The ship lost power multiple times before leaving the Port of Baltimore on March 26, according to a preliminary NTSB report on the crash. Baltimore is suing the Singapore-based companies running the ship for alleged negligence in the ship's maintainence. 

It was not clear when the malfunctioning ship might be able to sail again to leave the Port of Baltimore. 

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