Home News Texas bridge damaged by barge reopens after giant oil spill

Texas bridge damaged by barge reopens after giant oil spill

A Texas bridge damaged when it was struck by a massive oil barge has reopened to vehicle traffic.

The Pelican Island Causeway, the only connection between Pelican Island and the city of Galveston, was hit by the vessel last Wednesday.

Due to concerns about the bridge’s stability, it was closed to all vehicles for several days. It reopened Saturday night with new weight limits for vehicles.

“The Galveston County Navigation District, which owns the bridge, signed off on its opening,” the city of Galveston said in a Facebook post.

A tugboat was towing the oil barge through the lightly used Galveston Channel between Pelican Island and Galveston Island when a coupling broke loose and the barge was carried by the current toward the bridge.

The 321-foot barge, loaded with tens of thousands of gallons of oil, struck a support pillar and caused a chunk of the bridge to fall. The barge began spilling oil into the waterway. Officials initially estimated 2,000 gallons spilled, but the Coast Guard on Sunday updated that figure to 20,000 gallons.

At least three birds — two brown pelicans and a laughing gull — were killed by the oil spill, and the Coast Guard spotted at least nine other birds clearly suffering from the spill. Officials placed “acoustic cannons” to scare off other birds.

Texas A&M University shut down its Galveston campus, which sits on Pelican Island, following the crash. The campus resumed normal operations on Monday.

The Pelican Island Causeway was already 64 years old, and construction on a new span was scheduled to start in 2025.

With News Wire Services


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