Mississippi River Bridge Hit by Three Towing Vessels in Three Days

Mike Schuler
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January 14, 2016

The Vicksburg Railroad Bridge, also know as the Old Vicksburg Bridge or Mississippi River Bridge.

A third towboat has allided with the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge in as many days as floodwaters continue to impact shipping on the Mississippi River. 

The latest incident occurred Thursday when a barge being pushed by towing vessel Robert D. Byrd struck the bridge at about approximately 7:44 a.m.

The string of incidents began Tuesday when the towing vessel Ron W. Callegan with 22 barges struck the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge, causing nine barges to break free. Two of the barges containing coal later sank. On Wednesday, another towing vessel, the Inez Andreas, also allided with the bridge, causing two barges to break free, one of which sank.

The latest update by National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service on Thursday said the Mississippi River at Vicksburg was at 49.98 feet, almost seven feet above flood stage. 


The Coast Guard said Thursday that because of the three incidents in three days, it is currently evaluating additional navigation safety measures in order to reduce the potential for future accidents.

The Mississippi River remains open to traffic in the area.

An update from the Coast Guard on Monday said that high water advisory remained in place on the Lower Mississippi River from mile marker 869, near Caruthersville, Missouri, to mile marker 303 near Natchez, Mississippi, due to recent flooding in the midwest.

The Vicksburg Railroad bridge is located at mile marker 435.8 on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg. The bridge is to remain closed until a safety inspection is completed by the Vicksburg Bridge Commission and the State of Mississippi, the Coast Guard said.

The causes of all three incidents are under investigation.

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