Port of Baltimore Set to Reopen Following Key Bridge Collapse Recovery Efforts

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The full federal channel and passageway for ships to the Port of Baltimore will reopen this weekend, nearly 11 weeks after the collapse of the Key Bridge halted vessel traffic. The relentless salvage efforts have led to the clearance of the 50-foot deep, 700-foot wide Fort McHenry Channel, enabling all vessels to enter and exit the port once again.

How Did We Get Here?

A large container ship struck the Key Bridge on March 26, causing its collapse and resulting in the tragic death of six construction workers. The ship was eventually freed from the massive debris on its bow. Last month, the Unified Command employed explosives to break off large sections of the bridge, executing controlled detonations that sent truss pieces into the Patapsco River.

After removing enough debris from the ship, it was refloated and returned to the Port of Baltimore two hours after departing the collapse site, escorted by several tugboats traveling at approximately 1 mph.

Clearing Massive Bridge Pieces

Once the ship was refloated, salvage crews resumed clearing the wreckage from the federal channel. The efforts involved digging out the bottom cord of the remaining truss and cutting it into sections for safe removal.

A temporary alternative channel was opened around the wreckage site, offering a 24/7 passageway with a depth of 50 feet and a width of 400 feet, which allowed priority access to deep-draft vessels with necessary escorts.

Unified Command reported that salvage crews recently completed the lift of a 470-short-ton steel section of the Key Bridge truss buried in the river mudline, which had pinned the ship for weeks.

Moving Forward

The final stages of the wreckage removal are crucial to restoring normal operations at the Port of Baltimore. With the impending reopening of the full federal channel, the port is poised to resume its vital role in maritime commerce, ensuring efficient and safe passage for vessels.

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Source: CBS News