Barges break away after northbound tow hits Vicksburg bridge

(VICKBURG, Miss.) — A three-barge tow struck the Old Highway 80 and Interstate 20 bridges over the Mississippi River on Sunday, breaking apart and drifting south after impact, the Vicksburg Post reported.

Herman Smith, bridge superintendent, said the incident occurred about 1620 when the northbound barges carrying gas oil struck pier No. 4 of the Old Highway 80 Bridge and broke apart, with the first barge spinning around and striking the I-20 bridge. The barges were being guided by the towboat Sekco.

Smith said an inspection by engineers revealed no serious damage to the Old Highway 80 Bridge. He did not have information about damage to the I-20 bridge pier.

Smith said it is very rare for a northbound tow to strike the bridges. “I really don’t know what happened,” he said, adding video of the incident shows the tow starting to veer to port as it approached the bridges.

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By Professional Mariner Staff