Runaway Barge Strikes Bridge Near St. Charles | St. Louis Public Radio

Runaway Barge Strikes Bridge Near St. Charles

Jun 2, 2013

Updated at 3:34 p.m. on Monday

A barge broke loose and struck the I-370 rail bridge near St. Charles on Saturday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the incident.  

Even though water levels are up, last year’s drought is suspected to have played a role in the accident.  

Fallen trees on river banks are normally swept away one by one, but they piled up when water levels shrunk during the drought.

Now that levels are high, a lot of large trees are suddenly floating in major rivers. 

U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman Colin Fogarty says initial reports are that debris collected on the front of the barge, and in combination with fast currents, caused it to careen into the bridge.

“We experienced this a little earlier on the Mississippi River, and now that the Missouri River is starting to get heavy rains, we are now experiencing the same effects of large fields of debris,” Fogarty says.

Fogarty says they’re working with the shipping industry to safely remove the barge.  

No injuries or structural damaged has been reported.

Heavy rains from recent storms are expected to swell the Mississippi River, which is forecasted to crest near “major flood stage” on Tuesday. 

Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd