KYTC: Strong winds cause barge to hit Twin Bridges in Henderson


At about 6:10 p.m., CDT, the US Coast Guard received a call that fleeted barges had broken loose on the Ohio River just downstream from the US 41 Twin Bridges at Henderson.

Strong winds generated by thunderstorms in the area blew 29 empty barges upstream where they struck a pier on the Twin Bridges.

The Coast Guard contacted the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Operations Center in Frankfort. The center contacted KYTC District 2 and a certified bridge inspector was dispatched to check for possible damage. The inspector ran a safety check on the bridge and found no signs of damage.

According to the Coast Guard Ohio River Operations Center in Louisville, the 29 barges were tied up at mile point 787.6. Gusty winds apparent pulled them free from the Kentucky shore fleeting area and blew them upstream where they struck the bridge at mile point 787.0.

The Coast Guard çredited the Motor Vessel Lois Elaine and the Motor Vessel Vivian B with retrieving the barges, returning them to the fleeting area, and assuring that they were secured.

The US 41 Twin Bridges, also known as the Bi-State Viet Nam Gold Star Memorial Bridges, are located at US 41 mile point 19.649 about a mile south of the Kentucky-Indiana State Line. They carry approximately 37,000 vehicles per day across the Ohio River between Henderson, KY, and Evansville, IN.

The bridges are located at Ohio River navigation mile 787.0, about a mile downstream from the confluence of the Green River and the Ohio River.

The northbound bridge was opened to traffic on July 4, 1932. The southbound bridge was opened to traffic on December 16, 1965.

The Twin Bridges have a total length of 5, 393.6 ft. with a 720 ft. main navigation span. The bridge superstructure is a Warren cantilevered through-truss design.

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