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Temporary shipping route established after Baltimore bridge collapse

Salvage operations on the Francis Scott Key Bridge U.S. Coast Guard via Associated Press/Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kimberly Reaves

Temporary shipping route established after Baltimore bridge collapse

Authorities established an alternative shipping route on Monday, allowing some cargo ships to move through the Port of Baltimore. Construction crews began clearing the debris of the felled Francis Scott Key Bridge from the water over the weekend. The bridge fell into the Patapsco River shortly before 2 a.m. last Tuesday after a Singaporean cargo ship lost power and hit one of its supports. Six construction workers were missing after the collapse. Dive teams found two of the workers a day after the collapse, and the other four are presumed dead.

What do we know about the temporary channel? The detour is on the northeast side of the main channel and for essential commercial vessels only, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland. The new route is marked with lighted aids and is expected to be the first of several steps to reopen the main channel.

What is the status of bridge reconstruction? Partnering state and federal agencies, known as the Unified Command, began pulling bridge debris from the river on Saturday. Demolition crews with crane barges began cutting portions of the collapsed bridge into smaller sections to be removed and transferred to a waste facility via barge. Salvage divers continue making underwater assessments for further salvage plans. The U.S. Navy has shipped several pieces of large-scale salvage equipment to Baltimore, including a derrick barge that can lift 1,000 tons.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore acknowledged the disaster’s economic effects on Sunday, referring to the bridge collapse as a “national economic catastrophe.” The Biden administration allocated $60 million in emergency funding to kickstart the bridge’s reconstruction. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg expects the Federal Highway Administration to continue providing emergency funding for the bridge. Buttigieg and President Joe Biden say they are confident Congress will approve additional funding for the bridge’s reconstruction.

Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift on last week’s search and rescue operations, plus how the bridge rebuild will be financed.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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