(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating a barge allision with the Bayou Ramos Bridge near Morgan City and Amelia, La., on Highway 182.
On Dec. 23, at approximately 3:26 a.m., a towing vessel pushing six barges was traveling southeast along the Avoca Island Cutoff waterway when one of the lead barges in the tow struck the Bayou Ramos Bridge. Coast Guard personnel at Marine Safety Unit Morgan City received notification about damage to the bridge several hours later and identified the responsible party.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation decided to close the bridge later that day due to significant damage and safety concerns. The barge that allided with the bridge was also damaged.
There were no reports of injuries and the incident has been declared a major marine casualty due to property damage initially estimated at $500,000 or more.
The investigation is ongoing into the circumstances that caused the barge to strike the bridge. Coast Guard and NTSB investigators are working together to gather and analyze evidence to determine the factors that led to the incident and if acts of misconduct, incompetence, negligence, or violations of federal law were committed. Once the investigation is complete, both agencies will issue independent reports detailing their findings.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City investigation team at MCIO@uscg.mil.
If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the bridge or its closure, call the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development at (800)-256-1817.
– U.S. Coast Guard