NS W.Va. Bridge Struck by Runaway Barges

An NS bridge in West Virginia escaped damage after being struck last Saturday by two runaway barges.

The barges held construction equipment being used to work at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park along the Potomac River.

News reports indicated that the river was flooding at the time the barges broke loose.

The barges traveled downstream and struck a bridge at Shepherdstown, West Virginia, that carries the H line between Hagerstown, Maryland, and Roanoke, Virginia.

NS ordered speed restrictions on the bridge until an inspection found that it had not sustained any damage. The deck truss bridge was built by the Norfolk & Western in 1904.

The barges continued onward but became stuck before reaching two CSX bridges at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

The barges were working at McMahon’s Mill, southwest of Hagerstown. The work included repairing a retaining wall and stabilizing a section of the canal towpath that often is subject to flooding.

Last weekend the Potomac reached a depth of 200 feet, which is five feet above flood stage.

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