Coast Guard Reviews Salvage Plans for Barge involved in Mississippi River Bridge Allision

Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg CrestVICKSBURG, Miss. – The Coast Guard, in partnership with federal, state and local agencies, reviewed progress on salvage plans, Thursday, for a barge that sank in the Mississippi River, March 23, 2011.

The Coast Guard, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the Federal Highway Administration, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, the Vicksburg Bridge Commission, Marquette Transportation, and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers met Thursday to discuss salvage plans for a soybean barge that partially sank last week after a towing vessel allided with the Old Vicksburg Bridge on the Mississippi River. The group reviewed progress on salvage plans already underway and worked to ensure that all options to expedite removal of the barge from the bridge pier are being explored.

The salvage is scheduled to begin April 6, 2011, and is contracted through Big River Ship Builders and Salvage.

Monitoring systems are in place on the I-20 bridge and additional monitoring is being implemented to ensure the safety of the traveling public. One eastbound lane is closed to facilitate monitoring of the bridge; however, no bridge closures are expected during salvage operation.

The waterway will be closed during daylight hours and there is no projected completion date. Restrictions have been put in place for marine traffic to ensure vessels are able to safely pass under the bridge without impacting salvage operations.

The Coast Guard continues to work alongside LADOT, MDOT, FHWA, USACE, local law enforcement agencies and the marine industry to complete salvage operations and re-open the river to commerce as safely and quickly as possible.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg received a report that the towing vessel, Kay A. Eckstein, allided with the Old Vicksburg Bridge on March 23, causing the barges being pushed by the towing vessel to come free. One barge allided with the I-20 bridge, partially sank, and is considered a hazard to navigation.

There are no reported injuries or pollution.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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