Home » Two bridges in Pittsburgh area closed after 26 barges broke loose and floated uncontrollably down the Ohio River

Two bridges in Pittsburgh area closed after 26 barges broke loose and floated uncontrollably down the Ohio River

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Two bridges in Pittsburgh area closed after 26 barges broke loose and floated uncontrollably down the Ohio River

Barges Break Loose, Cause Extensive Damage in Pittsburgh Marina

PITTSBURGH (CNN) – A marina in Pittsburgh suffered significant damage after 26 barges, most carrying bulk cargo, broke loose on Friday night and floated uncontrollably down the Ohio River, according to authorities.

The incident caused two Pittsburgh-area bridges located about 2.5 miles apart to be closed for safety reasons. The McKees Rocks Bridge was shut down as a precaution by McKees Rocks police, who stated that they were not willing to take any risks with the barges potentially coming into contact with the bridge’s substructure.

The West End Bridge was also closed in both directions, and rail traffic on the bridge to Brunot Island was canceled, according to Pittsburgh city officials. Fortunately, there were no hazardous materials aboard the barges, with 23 of them carrying bulk cargo such as coal.

While 11 of the loose barges were located and pinned against the riverbank by Brunot Island, held up by a tugboat, 14 barges continued downstream and six have passed over the Emsworth Dam. Peggy’s Harbor, a family-owned marina on the Ohio River, was reported to have sustained damage as a result of the incident.

The barges involved in the incident are owned or operated by the Campbell Transportation Company, located on the downstream left bank of the Ohio River, just downstream of the West End Bridge, as per Pittsburgh officials. The Coast Guard, Pennsylvania State Police, and local first responders have all been notified of the situation.

The closed bridges will remain shut until it is determined safe to reopen them, officials said. This incident comes just two weeks after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being struck by a cargo ship, resulting in the deaths of six construction workers and causing disruptions for commuters and workers in the area.

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