Nine barges remained sunk or stranded on an Ohio River dam at Louisville, Ky., after a Christmas night bridge allision, Coast Guard officials said.
The 128’x28.5’ towboat Debbie Graham was passing the Clark Memorial Bridge in the city, pushing 15 coal barges, when the allision was reported to watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley around 8:10 p.m. A week later the response is continuing between the Coast Guard, the Corps of Engineers Louisville district and towboat operator Tennessee Valley Towing Co., Paducah, Ky.
Six barges had been recovered, with nine still stuck at the McAlpine Dam and seven of those sunk. Water rising 3’ at the dam over New Year’s Day has complicated the salvage effort, and the partners are “working together to evaluate the ever-changing situation each day,” Coast Guard officials said. Tennessee Valley Towing has retained two salvage teams to raise the barges, and was developing a salvage plan to raise the barges as soon as possible.
The Coast Guard opened the Ohio River to vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to McAlpine Lock and Dam, but traffic is only permitted during daylight hours. The cause of the accident remains under investigation, according to the Coast Guard.