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  April 25th, 2024 | Written by

Port of Baltimore Expands Shipping Access with New Temporary Channel

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In the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, the Port of Baltimore has taken a significant step forward by opening a third temporary channel, providing crucial access for vessels amidst ongoing debris removal efforts.

The newly opened channel, situated northeast of the collapsed bridge, serves as a lifeline for “commercially essential vessels” during salvage operations and bridge reconstruction. With dimensions boasting a depth of 20 feet, horizontal clearance of 300 feet, and vertical clearance of 135 feet, this route significantly widens the accessibility for a diverse range of vessels to reach the port.

Coast Guard and Port Captain David O’Connell underscored the importance of this development, emphasizing its capacity to restore approximately 15 percent of the port’s pre-collapse commercial activity.

This initiative follows the opening of the first temporary channel on April 1, soon after the bridge incident in early March. Officials are actively working towards the establishment of a fourth channel by month’s end, aiming to fully restore maritime traffic at the Port of Baltimore.

Meanwhile, efforts to clear debris from the vessel responsible for the bridge collision, the Dali, continue. Despite challenges, workers have successfully removed around 1,300 tonnes of steel using massive cranes. Tragically, the incident has claimed the lives of six roadwork crew members, with recovery efforts ongoing for the remaining two.

The comprehensive debris removal process remains critical, particularly for the safe return of the Dali to the port. As the port navigates these challenges, the opening of the new temporary channel marks a significant milestone in maintaining vital shipping operations amidst ongoing recovery efforts.