Baltimore bridge collapse: Temporary channel for ships opened to aid clean-up operation after disaster

A temporary alternate channel has been opened into the port of Baltimore to help with the clean-up operation following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The structure collapsed into the water last Tuesday after being struck by the Dali, a 300m (985ft) cargo ship, which had lost power.

Maryland governor Wes Moore said the temporary channel, to the northeast side of the collapsed bridge, would “help get more vessels in the water around the site of the collapse”.

He added that recovery teams were working on opening a second temporary channel.

City officials said the temporary channel would open only to vessels helping with the clean-up effort, but work was under way on a phased approach to resume commercial shipping in and out of the port of Baltimore.

It comes as the White House announced on Tuesday that Joe Biden would travel to the city on Friday.

The US president is expected to meet with state and local leaders, including Mr Moore, as well as tour the area of the damage, according to White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.

Baltimore is the ninth-largest port in the US, based on overall trade volumes.

Concerns have been raised about the impact on the city’s economy from the continued blocking of marine traffic in and out of the city’s main ports following the collapse of the bridge into the Patapsco River.

Rail company CSX said it would start a new freight rail service between Baltimore and New York for its clients on Tuesday to circumvent the closure of the Port of Baltimore, CNBC reported on Monday.

Six road workers, who were working on the bridge at the time of the collapse, are thought to have died. Two bodies have since been recovered.

The search for the remaining four – who are presumed dead – has been put on hold due to the challenges posed by the bridge debris.