Barge Strikes Bridge Near Pelican Island

A barge crash at the Pelican Island Bridge in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday morning caused a section of the bridge, including railroad tracks, to collapse onto the barge. Officials say that there have been no reported injuries, though two crew members did go overboard and were ultimately recovered from the water. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry reported that the accident also led to an oil spill from the barge, which has a capacity of 30,000 gallons, though the amount of oil that entered the water has not yet been determined.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. and the cause of the collision is still uncertain. Video footage from the scene shows debris from the bridge and a section of the rail tracks resting on top of the barge as it remains stuck against the bridge. The Pelican Island Bridge is the only way to access the island by land and, as a result, officials have shut down the bridge to all traffic in both directions.

One of the major concerns with this incident is the potential environmental impact. Pelican Island is a wildlife conservation area and any oil spill could have a detrimental effect on the local ecosystem. There are currently no reports of any wildlife being affected by the oil spill but officials are closely monitoring the situation.

Officials are also assessing the damage to the bridge and the barge in order to determine the next steps. The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which collapsed in a similar accident six weeks ago, serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of barge collisions. However, it is important to note that there is currently no evidence to suggest that the cause of the Pelican Island Bridge accident is the same as that of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

Texas A&M University at Galveston, located on Pelican Island, reported a brief power outage due to the collision but power has since been restored. The university is an ocean-oriented branch of Texas A&M University, with a focus on marine science and maritime studies. It has not yet been determined if the collision has affected any of the university’s facilities or operations.

The incident at Pelican Island has also brought attention to the recent spate of barge incidents across the country. Last week, a barge struck the Fort Madison Bridge in Iowa, causing it to collapse. In Pittsburgh, more than two dozen barges broke loose from their moorings and caused damage to a bridge and marina. These incidents highlight the vulnerability of bridges to barge strikes and has led to discussions about stricter regulations and safety measures.

As investigations into the Pelican Island Bridge accident continue, officials and experts will assess the potential need for changes in regulations and safety protocols. The priority remains on containing and cleaning up the oil spill and ensuring the safety of those involved and the local environment. It is still unknown how long the bridge will be closed or what impact this will have on the surrounding community, including businesses and residents who rely on the bridge for transportation.

This incident serves as a reminder of the potential risks and consequences of maritime transportation and the importance of proper safety protocols and regulations. As officials work to clean up the spill and repair the bridge, they will also seek to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The barge collision at Pelican Island Bridge may have been a tragic accident, but it will also serve as a learning opportunity for officials and the maritime industry as a whole.


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