Barge strikes BNSF bridge forcing closure

City crews barricade bridge after motorists forced to back off


FORT MADISON – A southbound barge struck the Burlington Northern Santa Fe bridge Thursday causing the barge sections to separate and at least one to begin to sink in the Mississippi River Thursday afternoon at about 1:15 p.m.
The barge struck the north side of the open swingspan causing at least four sections to break free. One tucked up against the side of the bridge, the other sections passed through and made their way down  river.
A tugboat from Ingram Barge Co.  appeared to be pushing a section to the shallower water to keep the section from sinking, but it broke free and got back into the channel while the boats were chasing other sections of the barge.
Law enforcement officials barricaded the bridge after the vehicles on the Iowa side of the bridge had to back down the bridge. Fort Madison Police Chief Mark Rohloff said the bridge is closed but didn’t know how long it would be shut down.
BNSF officials couldn’t be reached for comment. The towboat that was moving sections of the barge is owned by Ingram Barge Co. based out of Nashville, Tenn, a subsidiary of Ingram Industries.
Motorists that were on the bridge at the time of the collision were forced to back off the bridge and find different routes to Illinois.
Calls to the barge company and Burlington Northern Santa Fe were not immediately answered or returned as of this posting.
City officials directed all calls to BNSF officials.

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