Barge Crash Damages Pelican Island Bridge, Causing Oil Spill and Closure

A major incident occurred this morning when a barge struck the Pelican Island Causeway Bridge, causing significant damage and an oil spill in the bay. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway has been shut down as a result.

Key Points:

  • Pelican Island Causeway Bridge closed due to barge collision.
  • Oil spill spreading in the bay, prompting waterway closure.
  • Evacuations expected on Pelican Island later today.
  • Texas A&M University at Galveston impacted by bridge closure.
  • Bridge damage raises concerns about its future usability.

Cause and Impact:

A barge under tow broke free and slammed into the bridge around 10 am. While the railroad portion of the bridge was hit, all vehicle traffic is currently stopped. The impact caused a leak of vacuum oil gas from the barge, leading to an oil spill in the bay. The spill’s trajectory towards the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway necessitated its closure, disrupting maritime commerce.

Response and Evacuations:

Officials are assessing the bridge damage and monitoring the oil spill. The Coast Guard is on the scene to address the environmental hazard. Despite an initial power outage, Pelican Island has switched to a backup power source. However, the city anticipates evacuations to be necessary later today.

Pelican Island:

Texas A&M University at Galveston is located on Pelican Island and has been impacted by the bridge closure. The university has assured its community of continued updates and a return to normal operations as soon as possible. Pelican Island is also home to various attractions and industries, which will likely face disruptions due to the bridge closure.

Bridge Replacement Plans:

This incident highlights the urgency of the proposed bridge replacement project. The current bridge, built in 1960, was already slated for replacement due to its deterioration. Construction for the new bridge was planned to begin next summer. The damage from today’s accident raises concerns about the current bridge’s long-term functionality.

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