Watch CBS News

Main shipping channel at Key Bridge collapse site to open this weekend. Here's the progress made.

Pompeian Olive Oil navigated challenges of Port of Baltimore closure
Pompeian Olive Oil navigated challenges of Port of Baltimore closure 03:02

BALTIMORE - The full federal channel, and passageway for ships to the Port of Baltimore, will open this weekend, nearly 11 weeks after the Key Bridge collapsed and halted vessel traffic to and from the port.

The tireless salvage work has led to the unfurling of the 50-foot deep, 700-foot wide Fort McHenry Channel, which will allow all vessels in and out of the port.

Crews say the work to restore the federal channel will conclude by June 10.

"We are not taking our foot off the gas," said Col. Estee S. Pinchasin, USACE, Baltimore District commander. "We are pushing forward as quickly and safely as possible to reach 700 feet and ensuring we remove all wreckage to prevent any impact to future navigation."

How did we get here?

The Dali, the 948-foot container ship that struck the Key Bridge, causing it to collapse on March 26 and killing six construction workers, was freed from the massive debris on its bow.

Unified Command last month used explosives to break off large portions of the bridge. 

Cuts and precisions were made in the steel where explosives were placed and then they were covered with what looked like heavy-duty tape. 

The controlled detonation sent the truss into the Patapsco River in pieces. Officials shared an animation of the process.

Enough of the Key Bridge debris was demolished off the Dali for it to be refloated a week after the controlled detonation. 

The ship returned to the Port of Baltimore two hours after it departed the collapse site. The ship was escorted by several tugboats, traveling at around 1 mph, back to the port where it has remained.

The Unified Command shared a timelapse of the entire removal of the Dali.

Clearing massive bridge pieces

The final large steel truss from the Key Bridge collapse blocking the main federal passageway to the Port of Baltimore has been removed.

The 700-foot-wide Fort McHenry Channel, with access to all vessels, is expected to be restored by June 10.

Salvage crews used concrete breakers, underwater surveys and oxyacetylene torches to separate tons of concrete roadway, cable, and steel rebar from "Section 4C" while removing debris with clamshell dredges.

Salvage work and surveys are continuing as crews remove residual wreckage.

Previously, crews completed the lift of a 470-short-ton steel section of the Key Bridge truss that had been buried in the river mudline and had pinned the Dali for weeks.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.