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Army Corps of Engineers announces full restoration of Fort McHenry Channel

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 10, 2024

BALTIMORE — It was announced Monday that the Fort McHenry Channel has fully reopened.

The channel has been restored to its original operational dimensions of 700 feet wide and 50 feet deep, giving access to commercial maritime transit through the Port of Baltimore.

Officials removed the final piece of wreckage from the collapse on June 4th, making way for final surveys to be done today to certify the riverbed was safe for transit.

With the channel being open, this allows flexibility to regain two-way traffic and cancel the additional safety requirements that were implemented because of the reduced channel width.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, commanding general of USACE. “The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

The Army Corps of Engineers added that there is still steel that is at or below the 50-foot mud line that they will continue to survey and remove.

“We’ve cleared the Fort McHenry Federal Channel for safe transit. USACE will maintain this critical waterway as we have for the last 107 years,” said Col. Estee Pinchasin, Baltimore District commander. “I cannot overstate how proud I am of our team. It was incredible seeing so many people from different parts of our government, from around our country and all over the world, come together in the Unified Command and accomplish so much in this amount of time.”

Governor Wes Moore and Mayor Brandon Scott both released statements following the reopening.

Gov. Moore: “One of our four key directives in the wake of the Key Bridge collapse has been to fully clear the federal channel. Today, we bring that directive to completion. By working together, we turned months into weeks – and bounced back faster than many could have ever anticipated.

I applaud and sincerely appreciate the dedication, commitment, and focus of Unified Command and the partnership from the Biden-Harris Administration and our federal delegation. This has been a remarkably complex operation, spanning thousands of people, hundreds of assets, and multiple objectives. This is government cooperation at its best—we can get big things done when we work together.

With the channel now fully open, we can get more Marylanders back to work at the Port of Baltimore, increase the flow of commerce through the city, and accelerate our economic recovery. But our work is not over until we rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

When we stand united, we achieve our goals. Together, we will continue to prove the full meaning of Maryland Tough and Baltimore Strong.”

Mayor Scott: