Rail traffic resumes on Old Highway 80 bridge after barge strike

Published 10:32 am Monday, January 13, 2020

The Old Highway 80 bridge was reopened to rail traffic Monday after a southbound tow of six barges reportedly struck a bridge pier early Monday morning.

According to information from the U.S. Coast Guard Memphis District, the barges were carrying rock.

Bridge superintendent Herman Smith said the collision occurred about 6:56 a.m. when the Miss Lynn, operated by Terral River Services of Lake Providence, La., struck pier 4 on the Louisiana side of the river.

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Initial information indicated the barges may have also struck piers 3 and 5, but Smith said an investigation by bridge engineers indicated the other two piers were not hit.

He said Monday morning it was hard to determine if piers 3 and 5 were hit, because of dense fog on the river.

“I have a camera on pier 4, which we saw the incident, but (collision alarms) on pier 3 and pier 5 went off as well, and the barges scattered,” he said. “We don’t know if they got hit at all, but they (alarms) went off. The fog is so thick, our camera here (at the office building) couldn’t see the bridge, much less the river.”

Smith said boats from Ergon Marine corralled the barges and got them out of the channel by 8 a.m. None of the barges sank, he said, but one had taken on water. There were no injuries.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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