Marquette Transportation does it again — a crane mounted onto Marquette’s towboat Kristine Alexis slammed into the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi River in St. James Parish in the early morning hours of October 12. The collision severely damaged a load-bearing beam on the Sunshine Bridge. The damage was so bad the bridge will probably be closed for months. Luckily, there were no injuries and environmental impact due to the collision.
The crane atop the barge was in an upright position when it struck the bridge. What the barge was doing, where it was headed or who was on board when it ran into the bridge at 2 a.m. is still a mystery; an investigation by the Coast Guard and the LADOT is underway.
Based in Paducah, Kentucky, Marquette Transportation also has a location in Harahan, LA. The firm operates various types of vessels to transport a range of cargo, including grains, coal, oil, construction equipment, military equipment and riverboat casinos.
And this wasn’t the first accident Marquette Transportation had on the Mississippi River.
Previous Incidents on the Mississippi
The October 12 collision is just the latest incident involving a Marquette Transportation vessel on the Mississippi.
- In 2008, another Marquette towing vessel hit the U.S. 80 bridge near Vicksburg, Mississippi.
- In 2014, a barge carrying corn collided with the U.S. 190 Bridge in Baton Rouge.
- Later that same year, a vessel operated by Marquette, towing five barges, crashed into another vessel in East Baton Rouge Parish.
And last May, one of their barges crashed into the Mardi Gras World warehouse, collapsing the pier and causing part of the building to sag toward the water. While there were no injuries in this crash either, it occurred just as guests were beginning to arrive for Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s inaugural ball at the Mardi Gras World. The collision could have turned into a real tragedy if it had happened an hour or two later than it did.
Serious Damage to Sunshine Bridge
The damage to the Sunshine Bridge, a major travel artery, is causing headaches for nearby residents. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development had hoped to open the westbound side of the 1½-mile-long bridge to two-way traffic, but continues to find structural problems. With the bridge closed, motorists are forced to cross the Mississippi River at Gramercy, about 20 miles south, or the ferry at Plaquemine, 28 miles north. Reopening the old White Castle ferry near Donaldson is not a viable option at this time.
“Key load-carrying components of the bridge suffered significant damage” after being rammed early Friday, and the bridge isn’t safe to carry any traffic, DOTD officials said after inspections Monday. “Because of the extensive damage, permanent repairs to the bridge are necessary prior to reopening it to vehicular traffic. The Department continues to find damage to the structure.”
Mississippi River Accident Injuries
If you are a maritime worker who has been injured during a collision with another vessel, a bridge or other structure, you may be able to pursue compensation for under state and federal maritime law, including the Jones Act.
Lambert Zainey has been defending the rights of injured river boat workers for over 40 years. Our Mississippi River accident attorneys possess the skill and experience experienced to handle the complex maritime injury claims other firms can’t. We will fight to get you the compensation you are entitled to receive.