Coast Guard closes portion of Illinois River due to bridge allision

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River captain of the port has closed a portion of the Illinois River as the result of a bridge allision with the Florence Highway Bridge near Florence, Ill., Saturday.

Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River has closed the river to all commercial and recreational traffic from mile marker 55.5 to mile marker 56.5 due to the allision. The 120-foot towing vessel Billy Waxler was pushing 12 barges loaded with grain when it allided with the bridge at mile marker 56 on the Illinois River on Saturday. Four of the barges are wedged against the bridge and awaiting salvage operations. No waterway pollution or injuries have been reported. Currently, there is a vessel queue of nine vessels waiting to transit up-bound and nine vessels waiting to transit down-bound.

An allision is a term of reference that is used when a moving object strikes a stationary object. This is in contrast to a collision, where both objects are in motion when a strike occurs.

Coast Guard investigating officers and a pollution investigation team are working with the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Scott County Sheriff’s Department to monitor the situation and assist with recovery of the barges.

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