Barges destroy part of fender system at Popp’s Ferry bridge

A tug boat pushing four barges carrying crushed rock and gravel collided with the wooden fender system that protects the Popp’s Ferry bridge after noon today, heavily damaging and detaching a section of the wooden system.

The bridge itself remained operational and open to vehicular and marine traffic after the incident.

“The fender system did exactly what it was supposed to do; it protected the bridge,” said Damon Torricelli, the city’s engineer and acting Public Works director. “The first thing we did was inspect the bridge for damage, and now we’re installing temporary emergency lights on the damaged sections of the fender system so they will not be as much of a hazard to navigation.

“We’re also going to take emergency steps to get the fender system repaired as soon as we can,” Torricelli added, noting that marine vessels have damaged the fenders more than once over the years. “We realize the importance of having that system in place, and getting it in place quickly, especially with hurricane season less than a month away.”

Photos: To see photos from the accident today, click here.

Previous collision: To see photos from a March 2009 collision that destroyed a 150-foot section of the bridge, click here.