Illinois River in Flood: Dam Struck by Barges
A Unified Command of U.S. Coast Guard & the Ingram Barge Company say the Marseilles Dam is structurally sound after 7 barges broke loose nearby.
On Friday night the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, providing technical assistance to the Unified Command, completed an evaluation of the dam and determined it to be structurally sound.
The Main Street Bridge in Marseilles, located about 400 feet downstream of the dam, was reopened Saturday at 10:45 a.m. after flood waters began to recede and the access road to the bridge was cleared.
Salvage of the barges is delayed by the continuing high flood waters and heavy river currents.
“Once the river waters recede and a timeframe is established, we will notify the public and maritime interests of upcoming salvage operations,” said Cmdr. Jason Neubauer, Coast Guard Incident Commander for the Marseilles Barge Incident. “Safety of the personnel and timely reopening of the waterway will be our main priorities during salvage operations.”
Marine investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago continue to investigate the incident, which occurred Thursday night. The UTV Dale A. Heller was downbound on the Illinois River, approaching the entrance to the Marseilles Lock canal, when strong river currents redirected the tow toward the dam. No injuries or pollution have been reported, but four of the seven cargo barges are partially submerged at the dam.