MISSISSIPPI RIVER SECTION IS REOPENED AFTER MISHAP

MISSISSIPPI RIVER SECTION IS REOPENED AFTER MISHAP

Coast Guard officials on the Lower Mississippi River reopened to restricted traffic a portion of the waterway at the Tennessee-Missouri state line that was closed due to a barge accident.

The Coast Guard Monday reopened a stretch between mile markers 833.5 and 837.5 that had been closed after a tug pushing 25 barges struck the I-151 bridge that connects Boothspoint, Tenn., and Kinfolk Ridge, Mo.Traffic was closed between Caruthersville, Mo., to Blytheville, Ark., on Sunday and into Monday.

Traffic was halted to allow the Tennessee Department of Transportation to inspect the damage, which didn't seem to be major, said a spokesperson for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

The four-mile affected stretch reopened Monday morning, but Coast Guard officials in New Orleans said they were not allowing passing or overtaking of vessels on that stretch of river, because of two partially submerged barges that broke away during the impact Sunday with the bridge.

No one was injured.

Both barges were filled with rocks and were en route to Reserve, La. Twenty-three other barges contained various dry cargo, such as coal and grain, officials said.

''There were no hazardous materials on the barges,'' said Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Memphis, Tenn., is investigating the accident, which occurred under the watch of the tug Noble C. Parsonage.