Coast Guard Investigates Bridge Allision

Tuesday, December 04, 2001
New Orleans -Coast Guard personnel and state officials investigated an incident where a crane barge floated away from its moorings at approximately 8 p.m. Sunday night and hit the Huey P. Long Bridge. No one was injured and the bridge was not damaged in the accident. The barge was originally moored at the Avondale Shipyard facility, with three smaller barges connected to it. The lines that moored the barge to the dock broke and it floated approximately 200-yards down river striking the bridge. The crane struck the underside of the bridge, snagging on some tension wires. The barge did not hit any of the stone foundations, supporting the bridge. The barge did partically block a portion of the ship channel, but vessel traffic was not seriously affected.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Office New Orleans sent three pollution personnel and one investigator to the scene, a bridge investigator from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and state police responded as well.

When the investigators arrived, a tugboat from Avondale already removed the three smaller barges, leaving the crane barge. The crane barge was removed from underneath the bridge shortly after midnight, by pumping water into it, lowering it four-feet into the Mississippi River, thus lowering the crane and removing it from the bridge. The barge was then pushed back to Avondale.

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