The Baltimore Shipping Channel will partially reopen by the end of April

A shipping lane in Baltimore Harbor that has been blocked since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed last week will be partially reopened by the end of April and full traffic will be restored by the end of May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday. .

The announcement came as President Biden was scheduled to visit the site of the wreckage on Friday. A large container ship hit the bridge on March 26, causing the bridge to sink into the waterway leading in and out of one of the country's busiest ports.

Officials have warned that removing the mangled, dismembered debris from the channel will be a complicated and dangerous underwater rescue operation as the Port of Baltimore, a major automobile hub that employs 8,000 people, struggles to reopen.

A 280-feet-wide and 35-feet-deep channel leading to the port is expected to open first, allowing cargo ships and vessels carrying vehicles, as well as the Army Corps, which maintains the ship channel, to ensure navigation. said in a statement. According to the report, the channel will allow one-way traffic of ships to and from the port at a time.

Officials aim to reopen the 700-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep navigation channel after a month, according to the report, bringing access to the harbor back to its normal capacity.

On Friday, Mr. The White House said Biden plans to take an aerial tour of the wreckage and receive a briefing on the response and recovery efforts. He is also expected to meet the loved ones of six construction workers who are believed to have died after the bridge collapsed and fell into the river.

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In the 10 days following the collapse, responders conducted underwater surveys and detailed structural analysis of the bridge wreckage.

Two small temporary canals, 11 feet and 14 feet deep, were cleaned and opened before some small boats and other vessels entered and exited the harbor.

Experts say divers must first cut the metal and concrete structures at the bottom of the Patapsco River into more manageable pieces, which can then be lifted to the surface by cranes. Divers work amid fast currents and low visibility.

Reconstruction of the bridge, which carries about 35 million vehicles annually and spans 1.6 miles over the river, could take several years. Biden administration said last week It earmarks $60 million in emergency federal highway funds, making initial costs a very expensive operation.

Mr. said that the central government will pay for the reconstruction of the bridge. Biden has promised.

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