US Army Corps of Engineers develops tentative timeline to reopen Fort McHenry Channel following Key Bridge collapse

By U.S. Army Corps of EngineersApril 4, 2024

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develops tentative timeline to reopen Fort McHenry Channel following Key Bridge collapse
USACE commanding general Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon views damage of the fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge that collapsed in Baltimore, March 26, 2024. In accordance with USACE’s federal authorities, USACE will lead the effort to clear the channel as part of the larger interagency recovery effort to restore operations at the Port of Baltimore. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Maj. Spencer Garrison) VIEW ORIGINAL

BALTIMORE — As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District continues working with local, state and federal partners to clear the wreckage along the Fort McHenry Channel following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, engineers have determined a tentative timeline for the restoration for safe navigation in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

After detailed studies and engineering assessments by local, state and federal organizations, in collaboration with industry partners, USACE expects to open a limited access channel 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep, to the Port of Baltimore within the next four weeks — by the end of April. 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.

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

“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,” said 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.”

“These are ambitious timelines that may still be impacted by significant adverse weather conditions or changes in the complexity of the wreckage,” Spellmon added. “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.”