Stretch of Illinois River Remains Closed after bridge allision

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Illinois River at mile marker 56.5 remains closed Monday as a result of a bridge allision with the Florence Highway Bridge near Florence, Ill. Salvage operations of the partially sunken barge have begun.

Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River closed the river Saturday 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. No waterway pollution or injuries have been reported.

Currently, there is a vessel queue of 11 vessels waiting to transit up-bound and 11 vessels waiting to transit down-bound, with a total of 232 barges.

Coast Guard investigating officers are working with the vessel owners, Illinois State Bridge Inspector, 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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