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Breakaway barges hit San Jacinto bridge, shut down highway

Sep 20, 2019 08:58 AM

At least two of nine barges that reportedly broke free hit the I-10 span

KTRK-TV photo from video

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(HOUSTON) — A unified command consisting of the United States Coast Guard, federal on-scene coordinator; Texas Department of Transportation, state on-scene coordinator for transportation and infrastructure; Texas General Land Office, state on-scene coordinator monitoring for pollution; and Canal Barge Co., responsible party; are continuing to respond after at least two barges struck the I-10 San Jacinto River Bridge near Channelview, Texas, on Friday.

The unified command’s No. 1 priority is the safety of the public and responders. There is currently no health threat to the public. As a precautionary measure, Harris County and OMI Environmental Solutions have deployed air and water monitoring teams on the river and on shore.

At approximately 12 a.m. Friday, nine barges broke away from their moorings at the San Jacinto River Fleet, north of the San Jacinto River bridge.

Six of the barges have been corralled for transport to fleet areas. They include: Ingram Barge Co. IB1927 containing soybean oil; IB1985 containing soybean oil; IB1960 containing soybean oil; IB1954 containing soybean oil; IB9123 containing caustic soda; and Canal Barge Co. CBC1406 containing lube oil.

Two of the barges are currently lodged beneath the I-10 San Jacinto River Bridge: Canal Barge Co. CBC1403 containing naptha; and CBC193 containing monoethylene glycol.

One of the barges is currently beached on a mud flat north of the bridge. This barge is CBC1407 containing lube oil.

There are no reports of pollution from the barges involved in this incident; pollution teams, to include air and water monitoring, remain on site and are prepared to respond if the situation changes. As a precautionary measure, containment boom is staged for deployment if needed.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(HOUSTON) — The Coast Guard is responding after at least two barges struck the I-10 San Jacinto River Bridge near Channelview, Texas, on Friday.

At 12:05 a.m., Sector Houston-Galveston watch standers received a report that nine barges had broken away from their moorings at the San Jacinto River Fleet, north of the San Jacinto River bridge.

An Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter air crew and a Station Houston 29-foot response boat-small boat crew were diverted to the scene.

Sector Houston-Galveston Vessel Traffic Service had already suspended vessel movement under the I-10 bridge at 7:20 p.m. Thursday due to strong currents. The suspension remains in effect.

Editor's note: Local media report all lanes of I-10, the East Freeway, were shut down early Friday in both directions. To read the report from KTRK-TV, click here.

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