No major damage after barges hit bridges

Published 6:06 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

The old U.S. 80 bridge was closed Sunday afternoon after it and the Interstate 20 bridge were struck by barges from a southbound 30-barge tow about 2:25 p.m., Warren County bridge superintendent Herman Smith said.

He said the I-20 bridge remained open to traffic.

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Smith said the tow containing 29 grain barges and one empty broke after hitting pier 3 on the old bridge. Another barge hit the old bridge a second time on pier 2. Other barges from the tow hit piers E1 and E2 on the I-20 bridge.

Smith said Monday train traffic was shut down at 2:30 after the accident and resumed at 6:20 Sunday evening. He said there were three inspections of the bridge — an initial inspection after reviewing the video of the incident, an inspection with officials from Kansas City Southern Railroad and an inspection by the bridge commission engineer.

“There was no serious damage,” Smith said. “The boat had slowed considerably before impact, but when you have 30 barges, it could have been worse.”

Smith said there was slight damage to several barges, but no major damage.

He said with the assistance of Ergon Marine, all of the barges were recovered late Sunday night.