New Articles
  June 6th, 2024 | Written by

Port of Baltimore Set to Reopen After Key Bridge Collapse Disruption

[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="13106399"]

The full federal channel to the Port of Baltimore is scheduled to reopen on June 7, ending an 11-week halt in vessel traffic following the collapse of the Key Bridge, CBS News reports.

Read also: MV Dali Refloated, Port of Baltimore Set to Resume Full Operations

Salvage efforts have successfully cleared the 50-foot deep, 700-foot wide Fort McHenry Channel, allowing all vessels to access the port. The restoration work is expected to be completed no later than June 10.

“We are not taking our foot off the gas,” said Estee S. Pinchasin, USACE, Baltimore District commander. “We are pushing forward as quickly and safely as possible to reach 700 feet and ensuring we remove all wreckage to prevent any impact to future navigation.”

On March 26, the 948-foot containership Dali struck the Key Bridge, causing its collapse and resulting in the deaths of six construction workers. Debris from the collapse had restricted maritime travel through the key gateway.

Unified Command used explosives last month to break off large portions of the bridge. Cuts and precise incisions were made in the steel for placing explosives, which were then covered with heavy-duty tape. The controlled detonation shattered the truss into pieces, sending them into the Patapsco River.

Enough bridge debris was cleared from the Dali to refloat it a week after the controlled detonation. The Dali returned to the Port of Baltimore two hours after its departure from the bridge, escorted by several tugboats.

Following the removal of the Dali, workers resumed clearing the wreckage from the federal channel. They continued removing debris from the riverbed by digging out the bottom cord of the remaining truss and cutting it into sections for safe removal. At the time of the ship’s removal, only about one-third of the truss was visible above the water, with the rest buried in the mud on the riverbed.

On May 31, CBS News reported that salvage crews successfully lifted a 470-short-tonne steel section of the Key Bridge truss, which had been buried in the river midline and holding the Dali in place for weeks.

“These final lifts are an important next step to re-opening the full 700-foot width of the navigation channel,” Unified Command said.

In May 2024, Carl Bentzel, Commissioner of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), wrote to President Joe Biden seeking financial aid for staff and businesses affected by the recent events at the Port of Baltimore.