High Water Slows Barge Removal Effort At McAlpine

Salvage activity to remove coal barges that sunk at or near McAlpine Dam was suspended January 22 because of high water, according to Katy Newton, public affairs spokesperson for the Louisville Engineer District. At the time of the suspension, five barges had been removed and four remained.

Newton said the salvage equipment that had been temporarily removed to McAlpine Dam due to the high water was expected to resume work January 31.

Tennessee Valley Towing is paying for the cleanup, which is being carried out by two companies, Big River Salvage and McKinney Salvage.

The incident began Christmas Day when the towing vessel mv. Debbie Graham, which was pushing 15 loaded coal barges, made contact with the Second Street Bridge, also known as the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, on the Ohio River. The contact caused the vessel’s 15 barges to break free, nine of which lodged against the dam.

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