COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Two runaway barges have left a big mess on the Tennessee Tombigbee waterway and for those who live near the river. A barge at the Stennis Lock and Dam and one at the Bevil Lock and Dam got loose during the recent rain, and that jammed up river traffic and water flow.
“The barge that hit Stennis lock or Stennis dam was loaded with rock salt and the barge that hit Bevil dam was loaded with coal,” said Tenn- Tom waterway operation manager Justin Murphree.
Justin Murphree said seeing loose barges is nothing new for his team, but they can’t make any progress until water levels go down.
“Both barges are still on the dams once water levels get back to normal then we’ll work on recovering those barges. We can’t do anything right now with the high flows we still have running through the dams but once the water gets back to normal we can lower the gates and try to recover those barges,” said Murphree.
The entire area of Humphries Cove was completely covered in water; now, that the water has crested; streets are dry and people can come and go as they please.
“The headwater here at Bevil got a little over six feet above normal and the same thing at Stennis both of them were six feet above normal, but they have both crested so the water levels are on the way back down now,” said Murphree.
The dams are full and though there is no way to stop barges from loosening; Murphree said he and his staff are partnering with the coast guard to limit overflowing from happening again.
“The coast guard is really in charge of the rules and regulations for tying barges and those type things so we’re going to coordinate with the coast guard and see if we can partner with the industry that uses the waterway to try and keep this from happening again,” said Murphree.
Murphree encourages those that visit the lock and dams to stay a good distance from the water.