Barge Hits Highway 59 Bridge Near Barling

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BARLING (KFSM) -- A barge hit the Arkansas 59 bridge near Barling, closing the highway for about an hour Thursday morning (July 19).

According to Lt. Aaron Townsend of the Barling Police Department, part of the barge hit the bridge about 8:45 a.m. One of the dredges hit the bridge, and manufacturers will have to figure out what went wrong, said Travis Cooper of the Sebastian County Emergency Management.

"Was it a malfunction that didn't release that to go down?" Cooper said. "Typically, they are down at a certain level to where they can go underneath of the bridges. For some reason, there was only one that didn't actually go down."

No injuries were reported.

Inspectors checked for any possible damage to the bridge, but only "cosmetic" damage was visible, said Danny Straessle with the Arkansas Department of Transportation. It doesn't appear that the bridge's structure was compromised, and the bridge is safe for drivers, he said.

The Arkansas State Police reported at 9:06 a.m. that both directions of Arkansas 59 just south of the Arkansas River were closed for about a mile. The Crawford County Department of Emergency Management tweeted the closure a few minutes later.

The highway was reopened about 10 a.m.

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