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Old 03-20-2009
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Biloxi Bridge Span Collapses After Barge Strike

Biloxi Bridge Span Collapses After Barge Strike
Rescue Crews On Scene Of Morning Accident





BILOXI, Miss. -- A portion of the Popps Ferry Bridge in Biloxi collapsed Friday morning when it was struck by a barge attempting to pass beneath the structure.

One vehicle -- which was unoccupied -- fell into the water. Rescue crews on the scene report no injuries.


The accident happened about 7:30 Friday morning. Conditions were calm at the time.

Last year, the City of Biloxi took steps toward expanding and replacing the bridge, which is a traditional split-lift drawbridge spanning Biloxi Bay west of Interstate 110. The bridge underwent major repairs after Hurricane Katrina.

"It made a loud noise when the bridge fell, and also vibrations," John Blakely, who lives nearby but did not see the collapse, told WDSU NewsChannel 6. "You could feel it, like an earthquake ... I didn't think much about it because people are going over the bridge all the time."



WDSU
A chunk of concrete and twisted metal from the Popp's Ferry Bridge sits atop a slowly sinking barge. The barge struck the bridge Friday morning.


Assistant Police Chief Rodney McGilvary told the SunHerald that the operator of the tug boat that struck the bridge is on his vessel awaiting rescue and two other boats in the area appear to be taking on water.

The bridge tender, identified by Mayor A.J. Holloway as Margie Johnson, works out of a small office on the bridge. The 21-year city employee was trapped but was able to use a cat walk designed for an emergency escape to reach the waiting hands of rescue personnel , McGilvary said. Firefighters used two ladders to help her leave the bridge.

Authorities said the bridge-tender was "a little shook up," but she's OK. City officials have called for engineers to review the damages.

Traffic is being diverted on both sides of the bridge



More of the story here:

Biloxi, Gulfport and South Mississippi's News Leader | Sun Herald
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