Morning commuters have been urged to take alternate routes as the Key Bridge collapse closes I-695’s southeast corridor.

Maryland commuters are asked to avoid the southeast corridor of Interstate 695 past the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. collapsed early Tuesday after being hit by a cargo shipsending the bridge and cars into the Patapsco River.

The Maryland Transportation Authority has issued a traffic notice direct motorists to use Interstate 95 and Interstate 895 as alternate travel routes.

Lanes leading to the Key Bridge were closed in both directions and authorities redirected traffic after a 948-foot cargo ship struck a support column on the 1.6-mile bridge. Rescuers were searching for at least seven people in the water at 3 a.m., according to a Baltimore City Fire Department spokesperson.

The Key Bridge opened in 1977, connecting Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County and carrying cars on I-695 through the Patapsco. The four-lane bridge was one of three ways to cross the Baltimore Harbor, including the Harbor Tunnel (I-895) and the Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95). Through Tuesday, the bridge had a traffic volume of 11.3 million vehicles per year, or nearly 31,000 cars per day, according to the MDTA.

The transportation authority said vehicles carrying hazardous materials, including propane, are prohibited from using the I-95 and I-895 tunnels through the port and should instead use the western section of I-695, around the tunnels.

Vehicles taller than 13 feet, 6 inches and wider than 8 feet are also prohibited from using the I-895 tunnel.

This story will be updated.

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