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BREAKING - Barge Collides with Galveston Bridge, Leading to Partial Collapse and Significant Oil Spill

A major incident unfolded on the morning of May 15, 2024, when a barge collided with the Pelican Island Causeway in Galveston, Texas, resulting in a partial bridge collapse and an oil spill that has sent shockwaves through the community and beyond.

The collision, which took place around 10 a.m., was caused by a barge under tow breaking loose and slamming into the railroad side of the bridge. This unfortunate event has led to the closure of the Pelican Island Causeway, the only road connecting Pelican Island to Galveston Island, causing significant disruption to vehicular traffic.

The impact of the collision caused a portion of the bridge to fall, and as a result, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway has been shut down for approximately 6.5 miles between marker 350.5 to 357. This closure is a considerable blow to maritime commercial traffic along the Texas coast.

Vacuum gas oil, a product carried by the barge, has leaked into the bay, creating a sheen on the water. The barge is reported to have a capacity of 30,000 gallons, but the exact amount of oil spilled is yet to be determined. The U.S. Coast Guard is on the scene to assess the extent of the spill and initiate containment and cleanup efforts.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has dispatched four inspectors to assess the damage to the bridge. Engineers are working to determine if there is any further damage to the roadway, and the bridge is expected to remain closed for an extended period.

Pelican Island, home to a community of about 9,000 people and the Texas A&M University at Galveston, has been rendered inaccessible to vehicle traffic. This has led to a temporary power outage on the island, which was thankfully restored by the afternoon.

No injuries have been reported as a direct result of the collision, and emergency management officials from the City of Galveston, Texas A&M University at Galveston, and the state, along with Galveston fire and police departments, the U.S. Coast Guard, and TxDOT, have responded to the incident.

This unfortunate event highlights the importance of safety measures and protocols in maritime operations and the potential risks that come with transporting hazardous materials. It serves as a stark reminder of the need for constant vigilance and preparedness in the face of unexpected incidents that can have significant environmental and community impacts.

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