Officials Preparing To Open 'Alternate Channel' Near Collapsed Key Bridge

By Bill Galluccio

April 1, 2024

Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship
Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images News / Getty Images

While salvage crews work to clear the debris from the Patapsco River, officials said preparations are underway to open a temporary, alternative shipping channel that will allow "commercially essential vessels" into the Port of Baltimore.

The temporary channel will be located to the northeast of the main channel and will have a controlling depth of 11 feet, a horizontal clearance of 264 feet, and a vertical clearance of 96 feet.

Officials did not say when they expect the new channel to open.

"This will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore," Capt. David O'Connell, the federal on-scene coordinator of the response, said in a statement. "By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore."

The Port of Baltimore has been closed to all shipping traffic since a cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26, causing it to collapse into the Patapsco River. Six constructions were killed after plunging into the water. Two bodies have been recovered, and crews are working to locate the bodies of the other four victims as they clear the debris from the water.

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