Dozens Of Barges Break Free, Float Down Ohio River

By Bill Galluccio

April 13, 2024

Ohio River and Brunot Island In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Mindaugas Dulinskas / iStock / Getty Images

Several bridges around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were briefly closed on Friday (April 12) night after 26 barges broke loose and started floating down the Ohio River.

The barges floated miles down the river, damaging a marina near Brunot Island. The McKees Rocks Bridge and the West End Bridge were closed over concerns the barges could crash into them, and a rail bridge to Brunot Island was also shut down.

The barges are owned and operated by Campbell Transportation Company. Three of the barges were empty. The other 23 barges were carrying dry cargo such as coal, according to the New York Times. There were no hazardous materials on any of the barges.

By Saturday morning, the bridges were reopened to traffic.

Campbell Transportation Company said 25 of the barges had been located. The shipping company said 17 barges were secured while the eight others were near the Emsworth Locks and Dams.

Officials did not say how the barges managed to break free and said an investigation is underway.

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