Barge hits bridge in Texas, spills oil and shuts road

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 1:03 PM

(Reuters) – A barge crashed into a bridge on the Texas coast on Wednesday, forcing the closure of the only roadway to a small island off the city of Galveston, city officials said.

No injuries were reported and the Pelican Island Bridge remained standing after the barge ran into it around 10 a.m., although oil has spilled into the water as a result of the collision, the city of Galveston said in a statement.

The Pelican Island Bridge is located about 60 miles southeast of Houston.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is responding and will determine the extent of the spill, as well as initiate the containment and cleanup processes,” the statement added.

An investigation is underway, the statement said. Officials have not yet said what may have caused the accident.

Engineers from the Texas Department of Transportation were en route to examine the bridge, which will remain closed until it is deemed safe, the city said.

The collision comes amid heightened concerns in the U.S. about the vulnerability of bridges to large ships, after a cargo ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in March, killing six people and leading to the collapse of the structure.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Longmont, Colorado, and Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)