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Baltimore update: Unified Command opens third temporary channel

Current 2,000-yard safety zone around Francis Scott Key Bridge to protect personnel, vessels & marine environment

Baltimore update: Unified Command opens third temporary channel

Photo Credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Theodore Lee

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The Captain of the Port established the Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, which is on the northeast side of the main channel in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and will provide limited access for commercially essential vessels.

The action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel, says an update from the Unified Command. "The third temporary channel is marked with government-lighted aids to navigation and will be limited to transit at the discretion of the COTP. It has a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet."

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. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative, the update added.

“This additional channel increases the types of vessels able to transit inbound and outbound the port of Baltimore,” says U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David O’Connell, Captain of the Port and Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024. “We estimate facilitating approximately 15 percent of pre-collapse commercial activity.

“Everyday, members of the Key Bridge Response Unified Command are working tirelessly to complete the steps necessary to support full access to the Fort McHenry channel. The opening of this third channel represents continuous progress towards this overarching objective.”

The Key Bridge Response 2024 Unified Command includes the:

*U.S. Coast Guard

*U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

*Maryland Department of the Environment

*Maryland Transportation Authority

*Maryland State Police; and

*Witt O’Brien’s representing Synergy Marine

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