Barges stuck under Louisiana, Mo., railroad bridge now freed

Posted: Jul. 23, 2014 10:28 am Updated: Aug. 6, 2014 11:15 am

By ALYSE THOMPSONHerald-Whig Staff Writer

LOUISIANA, Mo. -- All barges that were stuck Tuesday under the Louisiana railroad drawbridge at the Mississippi River have been freed, and both water and railway traffic has resumed, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday morning.

Crews dislodged the last barge between 7 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, and the waterway and railroad reopened at 7 p.m., U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Carlos Vega said. Crews left the scene at 8 p.m.

Vega said there were no signs of damage to the bridge after a string of 15 barges carrying dry goods broke away from its tugboat, operated by Marquette Transportation out of Paducah, Ky., at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Three barges cleared the bridge successfully, but the remaining 12 barges bunched up at the bridge's turntable, the mechanism that rotates a section of the bridge for vessels to pass.

Railroad operation was halted Tuesday morning, and river traffic was closed at 9:45 a.m. No injuries were reported.

In light of recent flooding, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday night that the water level at Louisiana was 15.3 feet, while flood stage is 15 feet.

Marquette Transportation, founded in 1978, offers river, gulf-inland and offshore marine transportation services.