Loose barges float down Ohio River, 1 may have struck bridge

Barges run loose down the Ohio River in Pomeroy, Ohio, Thursday, Feb.13, 2020. The Mason-Pomeroy Bridge was closed into Friday morning while an inspection team investigated whether one of the loose barges struck it. (Jj Kitchen via AP)

MASON, W.Va. (AP) — A bridge between Ohio and West Virginia reopened early Friday after authorities said a barge may have crashed into one of its pillars while at least nine barges ran loose along the Ohio River.

The Pomeroy-Mason Bridge was open as of 3 a.m. Friday after a West Virginia inspection team was called in to assess for any damage, news outlets reported. The bridge connects Pomeroy, Ohio, and Mason, West Virginia, and is 1,163 feet (354 meters) long, according to the American Society of Highway Engineers.

It’s unclear whether any damage was found.

Authorities had not said how the barges got loose Thursday night. Mason Police Chief Colton McKinney said the river level had been high over the past few days after heavy rains. The chief said just before midnight that all of the loose barges had been secured.

Authorities did not believe the barges were carrying anything hazardous. No injuries were reported.

The Pomeroy-Mason Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that was completed in December 2008. Also known as the Bridge of Honor, it memorializes three local veterans, according to the Library of Congress website.