WBRZ News

Stretch of river remains closed after barges sink

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Posted: May 23, 2011 3:40 AM by Brittany Rivas
Updated: May 23, 2011 3:40 AM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: flood, Mississippi River, Coast Guard, barge, bridge, traffic

BATON ROUGE- A nine-mile stretch of the Mississippi River remains closed while the Coast Guard settles on a plan to remove three barges that sank in the waterway that is bulging with floodwaters from upriver.

Roman Blahoski, a spokesman for the Archer Daniels Midland Co., says the company has submitted a salvage plan for approval by the Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers. He had no details on the plan but said salvage operations will begin as soon as the necessary government approval is granted.

The barge accident happened Friday in Baton Rouge, with no injuries or pollution reported. High water and fast currents from upriver flooding have made navigation on the Mississippi River difficult.

The Coast Guard says a towboat pulling the barges lost control of them near the Old Mississippi River Bridge on Friday, and at least one hit it. The bridge was closed while DOTD officials inspected it, but no damage was found.

Casey Hicks with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said five grain barges in all broke loose of the group. She said three sank while two hit another barge containing sulfuric acid. Hicks said there did not appear to be any leaks.

Port officials in New Orleans say the river closing has had only a small effect on the industries that ship products.

The nine-mile stretch of the Mississippi closed to traffic will reopen after the barges are recovered and the river is deemed safe for travel.

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