In what has to be described as a miracle, it appears no one was injured or killed when a barge struck the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake at the Trigg-Marshall County line tonight, causing a large section to collapse.
The incident happened right at 8:10, according to information from the Highway Department, which says the motor vessel Delta Mariner struck the bridge, knocking out a large section near the middle of the structure.
The captain of the vessel told Marshall County responders all of his 20 men were accounted for and uninjured. Initial searches by the Golden Pond Fire Department and Marshall County Rescue Squad using high-tech equipment including sonar turned up no vehicles under the water.
“So far as we know, there were no cars on the bridge at the time it went down,” said Keith Todd of the state highway Department.
"It (the barge) was pushing a large container vessel; I am told it holds aerospace aviation parts and somebody indicated it may have a NASA symbol on it.”
The bridge is, of course, closed and will cause major delays for anyone driving from the east to Murray or elsewhere on U.S. 68, with a much longer detour now necessary.
Crews will continue assessing the scene and agencies from across the state and region will converge on the bridge through the weekend to determine what went wrong and how.
The bridge was to be restricted to one lane most of the day Friday for electrical work to the navigational lights, but Todd said all of the lights appeared to be working correctly at the time of the collision.
The bridge is on the short list for upcoming replacement projects and it now undoubtedly jumps to priority number one, though no one wanted it to happen this way.
Click here to hear full interview with Keith Todd of the state highway department.
Click here to see a photo of the same ship going under the same bridge in July 2008.