Coast Guard Opens Temporary Channel Near Key Bridge Site

photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters and U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland – National Capital Region reported the Captain of the Port (COTP) established a temporary alternate channel on the northeast side of the main channel in the vicinity of the Francis Scott Key Bridge for commercially essential vessels.

“This marks an important first step along the road to reopening the port of Baltimore,” said Capt. David O’Connell, Federal On-Scene Coordinator, Key Bridge Response 2024.

“By opening this alternate route, we will support the flow of marine traffic into Baltimore.”

This action is part of a phased approach to opening the main channel. The temporary channel is marked with government-lighted aids to navigation and has a controlling depth of 11 feet, a 264-foot horizontal clearance, and vertical clearance of 95 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.

Members of the public may not enter the safety zone unless authorized by the COTP or designated representative.

Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or designated representative.

For updated information on the status of the maritime transportation system visit the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Maryland – National Capital Region Homeport page at

The opening of the temporary channel is a part of ongoing efforts by the Key Bridge 2024 Unified Command to reconstitute the port of Baltimore.

For more information on the Key Bridge Response 2024 visit:

B.J. Joseph

Benjamin Joesph has covered news in Eastern Baltimore County since 2006. He started as a reporter with the original East County Times in 2006. He started East Baltco News and later in 2022.