Key Bridge update: Second alternate channel established

(BALTIMORE) — The captain of the port (COTP) on Tuesday established a second temporary alternate channel on the southwest side of the main channel near Hawkins Point in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge for commercially essential vessels. The bridge collapsed March 26 after being hit by the containership Dali.

This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The second temporary channel is marked with government lighted aids to navigation and will be limited to transit at the discretion of the COTP and during daylight hours only. It has a controlling depth of 14 feet, a 280-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 124 feet.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

“The opening of these two alternate channels and transit of critical response resources, as well as the first commercial traffic movements through the area, is a significant milestone in our response efforts,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, operations section chief of the Key Bridge Response 2024. “Our number one priority remains the opening of the deep draft channel. We are simultaneously focused on opening additional routes of increased capacity as we move forward.”

The current 2,000-yard safety zone around the Francis Scott Key Bridge remains in effect and is intended to protect personnel, vessels and the marine environment. Members of the public may not enter the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or designated representative. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or designated representative.

The COTP issued a broadcast notice to mariners (BNM) via VHF Channel 16. Mariners are requested to monitor Channel 16 for the latest information.

A debris reporting hotline has been established. If the public encounters any debris from the incident, contact +1 (410) 205-6625

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes:
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Maryland Department of the Environment
Maryland Transportation Authority
Maryland State Police
Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine

By Professional Mariner Staff