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Barge hits bridge in Galveston

A portion of the causeway connecting Pelican Island and Galveston Island collapsed Wednesday morning when a barge inadvertently struck the bridge.

The collapsed portion is part of a rail line that runs alongside the traffic bridgeway.

A statement from the City of Galveston said there were no injuries but that oil was spilled into the bay as a result of the collision. Traffic to the island is halted for the time being. The city said the Coast Guard has responded to the site and as have officials from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Galveston County Office of Emergency Management said, “Vacuum gas oil from the barge has been visually confirmed in the water, causing a closing of the Intracoastal Waterway from Mile Marker 350.5 to Mile Marker 357, approximately 6.5 miles. The capacity of the barge is 30,000 gallons and the amount that has leaked out is unknown.”

Officials allowed those on the island to leave across the bridge in their vehicles but evaluation of the entire situation is still ongoing.

According to a source with knowledge, the barge disconnected from a tugboat while it was being moved.

The fallen portion of the railway fell onto the barge, where it remains as officials examine the situation.

Wednesday's accident is the latest to plague American bridges and highways.

A container ship hit the the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 6, killing six people.

And just two weeks ago, Interstate 95 in Connecticut was closed after a tanker truck, filled with gasoline, burst into flames and forced the closure of the one of the eastern seaboard's most important thoroughfares.

In late March, a family out fishing on the Arkansas River captured video of a barge hitting a bridge near Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
Back in April, more than two dozen barges broke loose from moorings and floated down the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, striking the Sewickley Bridge.

The Fort Madison Toll Bridge, which turns 97 in July and connected Fort Madison, Iowa with Niota, Illinois, over the Mississippi River, was struck by a barge on Thursday.

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