Clearing Debris from the Baltimore Key Bridge: What’s the Plan? | Explainer News

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Following the collision of a cargo vessel with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last week, a temporary route for vessels has been opened to facilitate navigation in the area. The first vessel successfully passed through a newly created alternate channel around the damaged bridge, marking a significant step towards reopening the port of Baltimore, one of the busiest in the United States.

The collision occurred on March 26 when the Dali container ship hit the bridge, causing six fatalities and significant damage to the structure. Local pilots were guiding the ship at the time of the accident, which resulted in cars falling into the river and four workers going missing.

The economic impact of the bridge collapse is substantial, as Baltimore’s port handles a wide range of cargo for leading automakers and other industries. The closure of the port is estimated to cost the economy up to $15 million per day.

Efforts are underway to remove the debris from the collapsed bridge, with specialized demolition crews and heavy machinery working on site. A massive floating crane and other equipment have been mobilized to facilitate the cleanup process, which is expected to take two to three weeks.

In addition to debris removal, plans have been made to establish temporary alternate channels for vessels to navigate around the damaged area. These channels will be limited for transit and only used during daylight hours, with navigation aids to ensure safe passage. Officials are also working on creating a second temporary channel to accommodate deeper draft vessels in the near future.

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