Barge strike temporarily shuts down Arkansas River bridge

(SALLISAW, Okla.) — The Arkansas River bridge near U.S. Highway 59 and the Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam was temporarily shut down Saturday after a barge struck it, 2 News Oklahoma reported.

The bridge is located south of Sallisaw near the Sequoyah/LeFlore County line.

Jonathan Teague, director of Sequoyah County Emergency Management, said officials are still determining what caused the impact at about 1:25 p.m. The left side of a barge in the tow hit the bridge. The name of the towboat and the number of barges in the tow were not disclosed.

Within 30 minutes, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oklahoma Highway Patrol arrived on scene and shut the bridge down.

ODOT engineers were able to inspect the bridge, the road structure, the pillars and determined all of the damage was superficial. The bridge was reopened less than three hours after the incident. No injuries were reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard will investigate.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol photos
By Professional Mariner Staff