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Temporary channel around Baltimore's Key Bridge opened to recreational boats

Amanda Yeager, Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE — Recreational boats were allowed to pass the site of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse for the first time Tuesday since the bridge fell three weeks ago.

A first round of boats used the Sollers Point Alternate Channel in the morning to leave Baltimore’s harbor. Recreational vessels like sailboats and yachts had a one-hour window, between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., to make the transit.

Boats headed into the harbor will be permitted to use the alternate channel Tuesday evening, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., according to a notice from the Coast Guard.

Until now, traffic around the Key Bridge has been closed to recreational boats, with alternate channels reserved for commercially essential vessels that are helping to clear the wreckage.

The 1.6-mile bridge fell into the Patapsco River on March 26 after it was struck by a container ship. Six construction workers died in the collapse, which has also hampered traffic to and from the Port of Baltimore. The Army Corps of Engineers hopes to restore access to the port by the end of May.


So far, the Coast Guard has not announced any additional times for recreational boats to pass through the alternate channel. Paul Sanett, the chief commercial officer for Oasis Marinas, which manages nearly half of Baltimore’s boat slips, said local marinas have been in touch with the Coast Guard to discuss more regular access.

“We’re hopeful it will happen again,” he said.


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