Update 11:20 p.m. —The Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management confirms reports that all the loose barges have now been accounted for and secured at this time.
Update 10:30 p.m. — A tug boat is at West Columbia attempting to catch loose barges, according to the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The number of loose barges is unknown but has been reported at four to five. WV DOH is also taking over traffic control at the Bridge of Honor which remains closed so that an inspection can be conducted, according to the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Update: 9:40 p.m. – According to a statement from Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, Meigs County EMS and Pomeroy Fire Department personnel advised that a pier on the Ohio side of the Bridge of Honor was hit. The U.S. Coast Guard has been contacted as well as the West Virginia Division of Highways, the latter of which will likely shut down the structure until it is inspected. For now, no traffic is allowed on the bridge so avoid the area.
Wood further stated he had been advised approximately 15 barges were originally loose in the river and they contained fracking sand.
“At this time (there’s) no present danger for residents along the Ohio River,” Wood stated.
Though some of the barges have been secured, an unknown number were still loose as of 9:45 p.m.
Update 9:15 p.m. – According to scanner traffic between first responders in Meigs County, it is being reported at least one barge made contact with the Bridge of Honor, though that has not been confirmed by Ohio Valley Publishing.
BEND AREA — The Bridge of Honor, connecting Pomeroy and Mason, has been closed to traffic while crews attempt to capture loose barges in the Ohio River that are reportedly drifting south from New Haven.
The bridge closure was confirmed by the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management but the number of loose barges has not been confirmed.
This story was breaking at press time and more details will be reported in the next edition and online at www.mydailyregister.com.