Divers inspect sinking crane barge

(Source: KYTC)
(Source: KYTC)

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Divers are evaluating a listing crane barge on 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 of C.J. Mahan Contracting the Sunday before Memorial Day.

C.J. Mahan is the contractor on the main span of the bridge.

The employee was making routine safety checks while workers were off over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

The barge was allowed to settle on the bottom along the Livingston County shoreline to keep the crane above waterline. The barge was also surrounded with booms to keep oil from seeping into the river should it sink further than expected.

A salvage boat and crew await on site for a report from the dive team to work out the best way to salvage the crane barge.

The construction company has indicated divers should be able to provide detailed information about damage to the barge and provide an indication on how long it might take to raise and repair it.

Mahan engineers also said earlier 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.

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 indicated the barge could likely be salvaged with minimal delays to construction on the new bridge.

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