Full reopening of shipping channel at Port of Baltimore following March bridge collapse

As of June 10th, the shipping channel at the Port of Baltimore, which is known to be one of the most heavily trafficked ports in the United States, has finally reopened after being closed for over two months. The closure came as a result of a major cargo ship colliding with the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing significant damage.

The Port of Baltimore received a positive development on Monday, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the restoration of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel to its original operational dimensions for commercial maritime transit.

In a statement, Col. Estee Pinchasin of the Army Corps of Engineers announced that the Fort McHenry Federal Channel has been cleared for safe transit. While the primary objective of restoring full operational capacity to the federal channel was achieved, the tragic loss of lives, their families, and the affected workers were always kept in mind.

Pinchasin shared that they thought about all of them every single day, and that was the motivation that kept them going.

Several agencies were involved in clearing the wreckage of the vessel, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Transportation Authority, Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Mariner, and the Maryland State Police.

According to the Unified Command, the full channel was finally unblocked last week as crews successfully cleared the last large steel truss. The debris was removed using a combination of concrete breakers, underwater surveys, and clamshell dredges.

On May 20th, the M/V Dali was safely moved by the Unified Command.

On March 26, the Key Bridge was struck by the Dali, resulting in a tragic collapse that claimed the lives of six workers and disrupted port access.

At the crash site, the workers successfully removed the massive 984-foot-long and 158-foot-wide container ship along with 50,000 tons of bridge wreckage.

Over 1,500 responders from approximately 56 federal, state, and local agencies were led by the Unified Command during the response. In addition, a team of 500 specialists from various parts of the world managed a fleet of 18 barges, 22 tugboats, 13 floating cranes, 10 excavators, and four survey boats.

In a recent preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the Dali encountered two power outages while it was docked, just 10 hours prior to the collision.

According to the NTSB, the vessel encountered two additional blackouts around 1:28 a.m. after departing from the port in the early hours of March 26.

The investigation into the ship has now shifted towards its electrical system, with federal investigators leading the charge.

It seems that vehicle traffic will remain disrupted until 2028.

It is estimated that the reconstruction of the bridge will require a budget of approximately $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion.

President Joe Biden has promised to provide federal assistance for this project.

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MBS Staff
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