Updated Jun 11, 2024 - Business

Baltimore shipping channel fully reopens after fatal bridge collapse

 The Chesapeake 1000 crane barge carries the last large piece of the Francis Scott Key Bridge blocking the main shipping channel towards Tradepoint Atlantic on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Baltimore.

The Chesapeake 1000 crane barge carries the last large piece of the Francis Scott Key Bridge blocking the main shipping channel towards Tradepoint Atlantic in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 4. Photo: Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Port of Baltimore's main shipping channel fully reopened on Monday after a massive cleanup effort following the Francis Scott Key Bridge's deadly collapse.

The big picture: Traffic had been restricted in the port, one of the busiest in the U.S., since the bridge collapsed and killed six construction workers on March 26.

  • The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in the U.S., Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has noted previously.

State of play: Fully restoring the Fort McHenry Federal Channel to its original width and depth "involved the removal of about 50,000 tons of bridge wreckage from the Patapsco River," per a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District statement Monday evening.

  • Temporary shipping channels opened while crews worked on removing the bridge debris, but these were not as big as the 700-foot-wide and 50-foot-deep Fort McHenry.
  • The Army Corps and U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving worked to clear the wreckage and move the Dali container ship that struck the bridge from the channel, removing the final large piece of the collapsed bridge last Tuesday.

The latest: The Key Bridge Response Unified Command team surveyed the channel on Monday and certified the riverbed as safe for transit following the removal of wreckage at the 50-foot mud line, per a statement from the group.

  • "Surveying and removal of steel at and below the 50-foot mud-line will continue to ensure future dredging operations are not impacted."

What they're saying: Moore said in a Monday night statement that the operation had been "remarkably complex," spanning thousands of people and hundreds of assets.

  • "With the channel now fully open, we can get more Marylanders back to work at the Port of Baltimore, increase the flow of commerce through the city, and accelerate our economic recovery," he added.
  • "But our work is not over until we rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge."

What we're watching: Federal officials are investigating the incident.

  • A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report found the Dali lost power several times in the hours leading up to it hitting the bridge.

Go deeper: Unpacking the economic fallout from the Baltimore bridge collapse

Editor's note: This article has bee updated with comment from Unified Command and further context.

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