November 28, 2020

Barge strikes bridge, sinks in flood-swollen Mississippi River, river traffic halted

A river tow carrying 30 grain barges collided with a bridge spanning the Mississippi River early Wednesday and broke apart in Vicksburg.

One barge sunk, official said, and the Mississippi River in the area has been closed to traffic until the damage and location of the barges can be determined and the river cleared for travel.

The tow was headed southbound on the river. With river levels already elevated ahead of what forecasters predict will be near-record flood levels in two weeks, the rapid water makes navigating much more difficult for tow boats.

Bridge superintendent Herman Smith said the MV Chad Tregrache operated by Marquette Transportation of Paduchah, Kentucky, struck the old Highway 80 bridge at approximately 7:04 a.m. Wednesday.

The tow struck pier 3 on the bridge and broke apart. The strike is the second this year.