Article

NTSB investigation: Higher speed contributes to contact of tow with bridge


published on 14 December 2020 254

Text and Photos by NTSB

NTSB issued an investigation report on the contact of tow William C with a Rock Island railroad bridge protection cell, on Des Plaines River, in January 2020. The investigation established that high speed prevented the pilot to correct the tow’s position after completing the transit through the previous bridge.
At 0032 local time on January 1, 2020, the towing vessel William C was pushing a tow of six loaded hopper barges on the Des Plaines River, near Joliet, Illinois, when the tow’s two forward barges struck a protection cell for the Rock Island Railroad Bridge at mile 287.6. Several tow lines broke, and two barges sustained minor damage. The bridge ceased operations for 10 days, and damages to the bridge’s protection cell were estimated to be greater than $500,000. No injuries or pollution were reported.

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