The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(BATON ROUGE, La.) —The Coast Guard issued temporary regulations for commercial marine traffic on the Lower Grande River affected by the Gross Tete bridge closure, Tuesday.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at approximately 10:30 p.m., Feb. 28, that the towing vessel St. Thomas struck the Gross Tete bridge while transiting northbound and damaged the bridge. Repairs and construction are currently in progress, and a temporary ferry that carries six people at a time has been established approximately one half-mile downstream of the bridge to assist residents and workers to cross the Lower Grand River.
Due to the hazards associated with construction to repair and related ferry operations, the Lower Grand River will be closed daily to all vessel traffic from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. until Aug. 1, 2014.
When it is open, all marine traffic in the area is advised to proceed at the slowest safe speed and use caution while maintaining a reasonably safe distance from the construction equipment.
The closure encompasses the operating hours for the ferry from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., to ensure the safety of the passengers.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.