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Fourth temporary channel allows bigger ships passage near Key Bridge collapse

NTSB shot of Key Bridge wreckage
Posted at 6:59 AM, Apr 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-25 07:20:11-04

BALTIMORE — The fourth, and largest, channel opened in the Port of Baltimore this morning to allow larger vessels passage, but it's only temporary.

The new channel is 35 feet deep and 300 feet wide. This limited access channel is open ahead of schedule as it was promised by the end of April. This allows ships that have been stuck in the Port of Baltimore to get out.

The channel is only open temporarily because large pieces of the bridge still need to be removed.

The Coast Guard said the channel is expected to close either Monday or Tuesday and remain closed until approximately May 10 to allow them to keep clearing the debris.

“As part of removing the Dali, and continuing to work as fast as possible, and safely, we’re going to suspend vessel transits through that new channel for roughly 10 days or so. That will allow us to safely conduct the rigging we need to do on that large piece of bridge that’s still on board the bow of the Dali," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath said earlier this week.

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The piece of the bridge that is on the Dali weighs about 5000 tons.

ABC News spoke to Lt. General Scott Spellmon with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about how they will tackle this, "So we're going to take that off with, with pressure cutting small explosive charges, and we're going to cut that into manageable pieces. It's going to roll right into the river."

Crews are still on track to open the port to normal capacity by the end of May. The permanent channel needs to be 700 feet wide and 50 feet deep.