DYERSBURG, TN – A barge struck a pier on the Mississippi River Bridge on May 3, 2011 amidst record high water levels
Dyersburg is located in Dyer County, Tennessee in the western part of the state on the border with Missouri about 75 miles northeast of Memphis.
The accident occurred on Tuesday around midday when the barge was traveling upstream, lost power and collided with the bridge, forcing a shutdown of Interstate 155 to vehicular traffic. The I-155 crosses the bridge.
The bridge, which connects Pemiscot County Missouri to Dyer County, Tennessee, was closed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) until it could make sure that the bridge was safe to cross. The bridge remained closed for about 3 hours and was re-opened around 4:00 p.m.
On Tuesday the banks were covered with water in areas that are normally dry and not flooded. Although there is no official report that high water was the cause of this accident, nevertheless high water can be dangerouse to barge operators.
Recently, on April 29, 2011, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a warning to barge operators in Pittsburgh about the dangers of high water that is causing an increasing number of accidents.
Officials estimated that the water in the Mississippi River near the bridge would reach historical high levels on Wednesday, but reports have not indicated that high water was the cause of the accident.
Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries and no hazardous materials were spilled as a result of the accident.
The accident is currently under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and a report on the incident is expected to be finished within 24 hours.
Published by maritime lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP