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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Barge Collides With Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
A barge collision shut down northbound traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on Monday.
About 6:30 p.m. a 140-foot-by-40-foot barge loaded with rocks for an on-going construction project at the bridge came loose from its mooring at the west end and struck the bridge between the two tunnels, said Tom Anderson, deputy director of the facility.
Northbound traffic was halted while the barge was secured and workers could inspect the damage to the bridge. In the meantime, northbound traffic that was stuck at the bridge had to be turned around.
It took about two hours to secure the barge and tow it away. About that time, bridge-tunnel personnel began alternating traffic on the southbound span to help move motorists who were stuck waiting on the northbound side.
The inspection revealed that the bridge sustained only some minor damage. A few pieces of concrete were knocked off a pile of rocks at the bottom of one part of the bridge. Other piles only had scrape marks.
All lanes of traffic reopened before midnight.
The barge was there as part of an on-going project to lay rocks along the bed of the Bay to support the bridge. It was unknown how the barge came loose from its mooring.