Shipping channel to Baltimore’s port will open again

The 213 m wide main channel of the port of Baltimore will be reopened to ships at the weekend – 75 days after the bridge collapsed.

The last large piece of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which was still blocking access to the harbour in the Patapsco, was recently removed by the emergency services. Smaller pieces of debris are now to be fished out of the water, according to reports.

By 8 June, the Unified Command plans to restore the Fort McHenry Federal Channel to its original width of 213 meters and a depth of just over 15 meters.

Shortly after setting sail, the “Dali” rammed into a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge due to a power failure without propulsion and rudder, causing it to collapse. Six people lost their lives.

Baltimore wants to build a new bridge

After the bridge debris was initially dismantled and cleared from the fairway following the accident, the container ship remained at the scene of the accident. Parts of the collapsed bridge had pushed the bow of the “Dali” to the bottom. Two weeks ago, salvage specialists used controlled explosions to free the ship.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has now published further details about the accident. According to this, the first power failure occurred after a crew member accidentally closed an exhaust flap during maintenance work, causing one of the ship’s diesel engines to come to a standstill.

The decisive power failure then occurred about 320 meters off the bridge, as a result of which the steering system failed. Unable to manoeuvre, the 300 meters long container ship (10,000 TEU) finally crashed into the bridge.

Plans are currently being drawn up in Baltimore to put a replacement bridge into operation by 2028.

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