Bridges reopen after Ohio River barge breakaway

(PITTSBURGH) — A pair of local bridges reopened Saturday morning after 26 barges broke loose the previous night and floated uncontrolled down the Ohio River, damaging a marina, CNN reported.

The bridges, about 2.5 miles apart, were closed after the barges – most of which were loaded with dry cargo – broke free after record-breaking rainfall Friday night, according to authorities.

CNN/KDKA News photo

The McKees Rocks Bridge reopened Saturday after it shut down out of “an abundance of caution,” McKees Rocks police said shortly after midnight, authorities said.

The bridge was closed but no damage was found after an inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation bridge unit, said PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan.

The West End Bridge was closed in both directions and rail traffic was shut down on the rail bridge to Brunot Island, according to Pittsburgh city officials. Col. Nicholas Melin, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District, said in a prepared statement Saturday that “all bridges are currently open for vehicular traffic.”

Campbell Transportation Co. said 25 barges had been located. The company said 17 barges were secured and under control, and eight others were found up against the Emsworth Locks and Dams.

Peggy’s Harbor, a family-owned and operated full-service marina located on the Ohio River, was reportedly damaged during the breakaway. The extent of the damage is unclear.

By Professional Mariner Staff