A southbound tow boat struck pier 4 on the Old Mississippi River Bridge this morning at 7:11 a.m., according to Warren County Bridge Superintendent Herman Smith. The Motor Vessel Blake Denton had 25 loaded barges in tow when it struck the pier.
Smith said damage appears to be minimal to both the structure and the barges; however, the 92-year-old structure is temporarily closed to rail traffic awaiting an inspection by the Bridge Commission engineer and Kansas City Southern Railroad.
The Denton is owned by Paducah, Ky., based Marquette Transportation. This is the second bridge strike in as many weeks by Marquette owned vessels.
Smith said one factor leading to the early morning bridge strikes is the Coast Guard halting night travel southbound through the structure due to the high river level.
The current in the area could be another contributing factor. Longtime Mississippi River experts contend that the current flow just north of the bridge near Delta Point is among the strongest in the entire river system.
This incident is under investigation as of this writing.See a typo? Report it here.