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Pittsburgh bridges reopen after 26 barges break loose, float uncontrolled down Ohio River

John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) — Twenty-six barges broke loose and floated uncontrolled down the Ohio River Friday night, according to the Pittsburgh Public Safety Office.


The West End Bridge was closed in both directions and rail traffic was shut down on the rail bridge to Brunot Island due to the loose barges, before reopening on Saturday.

Of those that broke loose, 23 were loaded with dry cargo, such as coal, and three were empty. The barges are owned or operated by the Campbell Transportation Company.

There are no reported injuries, but Peggy’s Marina sustained extensive damage.

Of the barges, 11 were located and pinned against the river bank by Brunot Island, 14 continued down the river and six went over the Emsworth Dam.

The company that owns the barges told ABC affiliate WTAE in a statement that “the incident occurred under high water conditions on the rivers resulting in strong currents due to flooding in the area.”

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