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Barge Strikes Bridge-Tunnel

A barge carrying a cargo of rocks for an ongoing remediation project struck the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel when it was being moved from one area to another early Tuesday morning, Sept 13, at about 3:00 a.m. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident.

According to bridge-tunnel Deputy Director Tom Anderson, the barge accident occurred when the barge struck a concrete piling on the southbound span between the two tunnels causing more severe damage than a similar incident that occurred in June.

In the June 20 incident, a barge broke loose from its mooring and also struck the bridge-tunnel in the area between the two tunnels, causing a nearly four-hour shutdown of the northbound lanes. A spokesman at the time described the barge as half the size of a football field and capable of holding up to 800 tons of rock.

After the accident in June, the company installed GPS devices on barges which send notification if a barge breaks loose of its mooring.

But that safety feature would not have helped in Tuesday’s incident because the barge was not moored at the time but was in the process of being moved, Johnson said.

Only 20,000 tons of rock remain to be placed before the project is completed in about four weeks, compared to a total of 270,000 tons already put in place, according to Johnson.