Timeline set to reopen Port of Baltimore

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Updated Apr 13, 2024
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore bridge collapse
USACE Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon views damage of the fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed in Baltimore.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Maj. Spencer Garrison

It was announced this week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are working with local, state and federal partners to clear the wreckage of the I-695/Francis Scott Key bridge and reopen the channel into the Port of Baltimore very soon.

Limited access to the channel could be available by end of the month, with a permanent reopening set for late May.

“Thanks to the exhaustive work of the Unified Command during the last two weeks, including underwater surveys and detailed structural analysis of the wreckage, we’ve developed a better understanding of the immense and complex work that lies ahead,” says Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, USACE commanding general. “A fully opened federal channel remains our primary goal, and we will carry out this work with care and precision, with safety as our chief priority.” 

After detailed studies and engineering assessments by local, state and federal organizations, in collaboration with industry partners, USACE states the temporary channel will be 280 ft., wide and 35 ft., deep. This channel would support one-way traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore for barge container service and some roll-on/roll-off vessels that move automobiles and farm equipment to and from the port, it adds.

USACE also reports engineers are aiming to reopen the permanent, 700-ft.-wide by 50-ft.-deep federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity. 

The Port of Baltimore has little impact on commercial vehicle production but is one of the busiest ports in the United States for automotive and heavy equipment imports.

“These are ambitious timelines that may still be impacted by significant adverse weather conditions or changes in the complexity of the wreckage,” Spellmon adds. “We are working quickly and safely to clear the channel and restore full service at this port that is so vital to the nation. At the same time, we continue to keep faith with the families of the missing and are working with our partners to help locate and recover their loved ones.”

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