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USACE survey's Baltimore bridge collapse

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Navigation staff observe the damage resulting from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, March 26, 2024. In accordance with USACE’s federal authorities, USACE will lead the effort to clear the channel as part of the larger interagency recovery effort to restore operations at the Port of Baltimore.

US Army Deploys More Than 1,100 Specialists to Baltimore

John Konrad
Total Views: 12738
March 27, 2024

by John Konrad (gCaptain) The U.S. Army has activated an emergency operations center for the Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Baltimore. This action mobilizes over 1,100 specialists in the fields of engineering, construction, contracting, and operations. These specialists will aid local, state, and federal agencies in responding to the recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

“Our thoughts are with those impacted by the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge,” said Baltimore District Commander Colonel Estee Pinchasin. “Our Emergency Managers are closely monitoring the incident and coordinating with partner agencies for any potential support requests.”

The Army also said it will leverage its mandate and federal authority to clear the Federal channel as part of a comprehensive interagency recovery initiative. Collaboration with local, state, and federal partners is underway to identify the best course of action for removing the fallen bridge.

Among the key resources being deployed, certified underwater assessment capabilities stand out, including services by Structural Professional Engineers who utilize Remotely Operated Vehicles and sonar technology to inspect and evaluate underwater structures thoroughly.

In addition to underwater assessments, the USACE is providing significant structural engineering support to ensure the safety and integrity of critical infrastructure. This support encompasses the deployment of certified bridge safety inspectors, alongside urban search and rescue structural technical specialists, who are tasked with evaluating and ensuring the stability and security of structures in and around Baltimore.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  vessel Reynolds

Addressing the challenges posed by waterway debris, the USACE has deployed the debris removal vessel REYNOLDS to patrol the waters of the Baltimore Harbor and the Patapsco River and the CATLETT, a 61-foot hydrographic and topographic survey vessel. They will focus on the identification and removal of drift and debris that pose hazards to navigation, thereby ensuring safer and cleaner waterways for Baltimore’s residents and visitors alike.

Both vessels are based in Baltimore. The USACE has not specified when it will begin deploying vessels from other regions of the country, nor if it will activate Navy salvage assets or Maritime Administration Ready Reserve ships.

The Baltimore District of the Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains more than 290 miles of federal navigable channels within the Susquehanna River watershed, including the Fort McHenry Channel.

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