Baltimore Bridge: Temporary Alternative Route to Open for Shipping

A temporary alternative route for ships is to be opened in the US city of Baltimore following the collapse of a major bridge, officials have announced.

Six people died after the Dali cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge last Tuesday, causing shipments to be suspended in and out of one of the country’s busiest ports.

Meanwhile, efforts are under way to remove debris from the water.

A 200-tonne piece of the bridge was removed on Sunday.

Those involved in the clean-up have been cutting debris from the bridge into smaller pieces that can be removed and taken to a disposal site.

Cranes have been erected on the site to help lift debris from the bridge. That includes the Chesapeake 1000, the largest crane on the eastern US seaboard.

According to a statement from the Key Bridge Response, a taskforce set up in the wake of the incident, port officials are preparing to open the temporary channel to the north-east side of the main channel near the collapsed bridge, for “commercially essential vessels”.

This will be part of a “phased approach to opening the main channel.”

Capt David O’Connell, who has been helping to coordinate the response, said the alternative route “will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore”.

“By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic,” he added.

Currently, a 2,000-yard (1,828-metre) safety zone exists around the wreckage, preventing all vessels and people from entering the area without permission from port officials.

The Port of Baltimore is a key economic generator for the state of Maryland and a vital artery for imports and exports of US and global trade.

Experts say it could take a month before it reopens, and years to rebuild the bridge. It is thought an investigation into last week’s incident may take years.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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