Pittsburgh bridge shut as barges break loose on Ohio River

    The Hawk
    April13/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    The McKees Rocks Bridge in Pittsburgh closed due to loose barges on the Ohio River amid flood warnings. Authorities are searching for the adrift barges to prevent potential damage to the bridge's substructure.

    Ohio River bridge

    Authorities in Pittsburgh closed McKees Rocks Bridge as a precaution after several barges broke loose on the Ohio River late Friday.

    There is a risk that the barges could come into contact with the “substructure” of the bridge, the McKees Rocks Police Department said in a statement early Saturday confirming the closure. The department said it closed the bridge because it was “not willing to take the risk.”

    The bridge opened in 1931 and stretches more than 1 mile across the Ohio River. As part of the Blue Belt, the innermost of several roads that loop around Pittsburgh, the bridge connects Pittsburgh and the borough of McKees Rocks.

    Pittsburgh authorities were conducting a search for the barges after the first report about 11:25 pm. that several barges were adrift, according to a shift commander at Allegheny County’s 911 center. About 15 to 20 barges were loose, she said. It was unclear early Saturday why the barges had broken free, or whether there were any injuries or damage, she said.

    A flood warning was in effect until Saturday evening in Allegheny County, which includes the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, where water levels had risen above the flood stage, 25 feet, by early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

    —International New York Times