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Dive Brief:

  • A temporary alternate channel is being prepared near the Francis Scott Key Bridge to allow transit for commercially essential vessels, according to a Monday press release.
  • The action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel and will be used for government and commercial vessels directly involved in response efforts.
  • “This will mark an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.”

Dive Insight:

The temporary channel will help support ongoing efforts to clear debris and reopen the Port of Baltimore, but most other commercial vessel traffic remains halted.

“The debris removal and cleanup will be extensive,” Dredging Contractors of America CEO William Doyle told Supply Chain Dive in an email.

Resolve, Don Jon Marine and Skanska are the main companies handling the salvage, Doyle said, adding the companies “will use their own equipment and secure assets and equipment from other maritime companies onsite.”

There are several crane deck barge vessels on the way to help with the steel removal. Most of the steel removal and placement will be sent to Tradepoint Atlantic, which is about one mile away from the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

On the ocean floor, GBA Associates are using sonar equipment and light detection to pinpoint where metal, concrete and other debris are embedded on the ocean floor and channel. Divers are also working to locate and recover bodies, Doyle said.

Once the ship is out of the way then massive removal of debris can take place, he said.

“Dredging and marine construction companies have provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with their equipment availability should a secondary work around channel need to be dredged to allow smaller ships and vessels to transit in and out of Baltimore,” Doyle said.

The overall cleanup of the debris will be an entire private sector emergency response operation with orders being channeled through the public sector, including state and federal emergency response efforts, he added.

As of Sunday, pieces of the bridge trusses were being cut and removed, U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer Kimberly Reaves told ABC7.