Barge collision in Burlington, Iowa

Runaway river barges crash in 2 bridges

Tugboats Bernard G., Bruce T., and James L. attempt to retrieve a runaway barge on the Mississippi River that collided with the BNSF railroad bridge between Burlington, Iowa and Gulfport, Illinois.

The barge was one of five that broke loose from a staging area on the morning of May 1 and first struck the Great River Bridge temporarily forcing US Route 34 motorists to detour 17 miles south to Fort Madison, Iowa.

One of the five loose barges could not be stopped and continued downstream striking the railroad bridge. At least 50 freight trains and east-west Amtrak service was halted.

During the first attempt to retrieve the barge, a towing cable snapped and the barge became stuck a second time.

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