Photo courtesy of Highway Dept.
News of bridge work is probably the last thing most want to hear about, but several agencies responded to the report of a sinking barge on the Tennessee River at the construction site for the new U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge between Paducah and Ledbetter Sunday morning.
An employee of C.J. Mahan Construction, the contractor on the main span of the new bridge, was checking on equipment at the site yesterday and found a crane barge was taking on water.
He immediately alerted additional Mahan employees, the Coast Guard, and the nearby James Marine Shipyard. A harbor boat from James Marine responded with pumps in an effort to save the barge and 280 ft. crane it supported.
Work on the New US 60 Tennessee River Bridge had shut down for the Memorial Day weekend and a check of the site Saturday turned up no problems.
Several nearby barges containing steel, other construction materials, and equipment were moved to the other side of the river and the listing crane barge was positioned to allow it to settle on the bottom near the Livingston County shoreline.
Engineers were optimistic the crane mounted on the deck would remain above the waterline, but placed booms around the area to prevent oil from seeping into the river should the barge settle lower than expected.