U.S. Coast Guard troubleshoots while barge remains stuck - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

U.S. Coast Guard troubleshoots while barge remains stuck on bridge

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By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

 VICKSBURG, MS (WLBT) - A barge remained stuck against the new Mississippi River Bridge for a second evening Thursday.  Coast Guard and transportation officials were trying to figure out how to pry it loose.

The barge was almost completely submerged after colliding against one of the bridge supports Wednesday.  Captain Matt Sanderson saw it happen.  "From what I saw, he just drove it in a little deep," said Sanderson. 

16 of 30 barges in tow got loose and scattered.  "Right now that barge is restricting south bound vessel traffic through the Vicksburg bridges," said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Scott Anderson.

The barge also forced the closure of Interstate 20 causing causing cars to pile up for about ten miles on I-20 westbound.  The bridge was shut down for more than two hours as crews worked to free the barge.

The Coast Guard's salvage plan was for two tow boats to push the barge into a vertical position and send it down river, but it didn't work.

"The big challenge is high water.  Right now the river is running through the bridges so that current is pushing against the barge.  That's one of the things we're working with.  How do we counter act that and safely remove the barge from bridge," said Commander Anderson.

A team of Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Army Corps of Engineer officials were working out another plan to remove the barge.  They will attempt it sometime Friday.

Meanwhile boat operators like Captain Sanderson said the rushing current was keeping them all on guard.

"Could be difficult sometimes depending how much horse power you have and the size of your tow, but its always difficult, always dangerous," said Sanderson.



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