MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Divers are expected to arrive Wednesday to evaluate a listing crane barge that was taking on water in the Tennessee River at the construction site of the new US 60 Ledbetter Bridge between McCracken County and Livingston County.
The leaking and listing barge, supporting a 280 ft. crane used for construction of the bridge, was discovered by an employee C.J. Mahan Contracting on Sunday. The employee was making routine safety checks while workers were off for the holiday weekend.
According to Kentucky transportation officials, the US Coast Guard and several agencies responded to the report of the sinking barge Sunday afternoon.
The divers are expected to be able to provide detailed information about the damage and how long it might take to make raise and repair the barge.
Mahan engineers noted that the crane and barge had been working at the site for about a year with no indication of problems, making the sinking something of a mystery, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The crane had recently starting lifting steel beams into place for assembly of the main truss on the McCracken County side of the river.
C.J. Mahan Contracting, the contractor on the main span of the bridge, has been working with the US Coast Guard and the nearby James Marine Shipyard to develop a salvage plan.
The barge could likely be salvaged by the end of the week, with minimal delays to construction on the new bridge.
If the barge and crane can't be refloated and repaired quickly, the company will consider bringing in another crane to replace it.
Meanwhile, construction crews can stay busy continuing prep-work and other construction activities on the Livingston County side of the river.
Additional barges containing steel, construction supplies and other equipment were moved away from the listing crane as a safety precaution on Sunday.
Monday, it remained safely secured to the shore on the Livingston County side of the Tennessee River. Booms have been placed around the barge and crane to catch any potential pollution that might leak into the river should the barge settled lower than expected, according to KYTC.
A contractor's employee had checked the work area on Saturday and everything alright at that time, according to transportation officials.
Work on the New US 60 Tennessee River Bridge was shut down for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Stay with Heartland News and kfvs12.com for updates.