Tow hits bridge; bridge OK
Published 9:46 am Monday, June 12, 2017
A northbound towboat pushing a three-barge tow struck the Old Highway 80 and Interstate 20 bridges over the Mississippi River Sunday afternoon.
Bridge superintendent Herman Smith said the incident occurred about 4:20 p.m. when the barges carrying gas oil struck pier No. 4 of the Old Highway 80 bridge and broke apart, with the first barge spinning around and striking the I-20 bridge. Pier No. 4 is on the Louisiana side of the bridge.
He said the 80 bridge pier was scratched on both sides, and further inspection by engineers revealed no serious damage. Smith did not have information about damage to the I-20 bridge pier. He said the barges were full, but did not sink or leak after hitting the bridge piers, and no barges took on water.
Smith said it is very rare for a northbound tow to strike the bridges.
“I really don’t know what happened,” he said, adding video of the incident shows the MV Seko and its tow starting to veer to the left as it approached the bridges.
When they struck the 80 bridge pier, the first two barges broke free and then hit the pier a second time, with the first barge breaking from the second and rolling around to hit the I-20 bridge before drifting south.