A third emergency channel opened Friday around the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, as  the joint command continued toward its goal of increasing shallow draft access to the port of Baltimore by the end of April. 

The Fort Carroll Temporary Alternate Channel, on the northeast side of the main channel at the bridge, “will provide limited access for commercially essential vessels,” according to the Key Bridge Response Joint Command.

“At a controlling depth of 20 feet, a 300-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 135 feet, it brings transit estimates to approximately 15% of pre-collapse commercial activity,” according to an update by the Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District.

The short-term goal is to have 35’ depth by the end of this month, and reopen the 50’ deep main channel by the end of May, Coast Guard Cmdr. Baxter Smoak told WBAL-TV.

The effort is allowing increase cargo to pass by tug and barge, and as of April 20 some 130 transits had been accomplished, Baxter said.

The 2,000-yard safety zone around the bridge remained in effect, as crews continue to cut, hoist and remove pieces of the bridge superstructure. With the recovery continues a search for two construction workers still missing, of six lost in the March 26 allision of the container ship Dali.


A Coast Guard crew sets a buoy marking the Fort Carroll temporary alternate channel near the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, April 19, 2024. Key Bridge Response Unified Command video image/PO3 Erin Cox.