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Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapses After Being Struck By Cargo Ship

Source: Kevin Dietsch / Getty

Paths are currently being cleared to get ships past the wreckage at the Key Bridge collapse site to the Port of Baltimore.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain David O’Connell shared with CBS News that two auxiliary channels are planned to open Monday: one along the northeast section of the channel, and one running along the south.

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The north side would accommodate boats requiring 10 feet of water or less to operate, while the south side would accommodate boats requiring up to 14 feet.  Additionally, there is pre-existing debris along the south side of the channel that the Coast Guard is working to remove.

The two temporary channels will mainly bKe for response vessels, commercially essential vehicles, and those participating in salvage efforts.

A deeper third channel is in the works that would require up to 25 feet of depth to operate, but more debris surrounding the striking ship, the Dali, needs to be removed.

“I anticipate smaller draft commercial vessels, maybe some small tugs in the next few days,” O’Connell said. “That’s that 13 to 14 foot draft, but that unfortunately, that’s not a lot of vessels. But it certainly is a start on our way to phase three, which will hopefully get us to 20 to 25 foot draft and that would be a lot more commercial vessels.”

Over the weekend a 200-ton piece of the bridge was removed from the crash site as crews continued to clear the debris from the bridge as part of a phased approach to opening the main channel.

The channel will be marked with government-lighted aids to navigation and will have a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and a vertical clearance of 96 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 mayor’s office said.

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