1 Barge Freed From Pickens County Spillway, 1 Still Stuck in Mississippi
The partially submerged barge that began blocking the spillway of the Tom Bevill Lock & Dam in Aliceville earlier this month has been removed by crews as of last Friday. The unmanned barge rammed into the spillway at the dam in Pickens County on Friday, June 11, causing flooding to parts of Pickensville.
Justin Murphree at the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Project Management Office told The Thread that the next step is for the removal crew to return sometime this week with a second barge to extract the damaged hull.
"Obviously, this submerged barge can't float, so we have a bit longer to wait before crews can fully remove it," Murphree said.
Murphree said that water levels in the area have returned to normal, and no rescues were necessary. Gate operation at the Tom Bevil Lock and Dam has returned to normal as well. Once the crews clear the barge from the waterway, the area in front of the gate will be drained and dried using stop logs. Crews will fully inspect the gate for damage.
Based on preliminary inspections, the gate has no apparent damage, except for some concrete chipping.
However, Murphree also confirmed that another loose barge further up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway remains stuck and fully submerged. This barge began sinking days before the Tom Bevill accident, when it collided with the Stennis Lock and Dam spillway in Columbus, Mississippi.
"The same crew will go on to remove that barge," Murphree said. "They'll likely arrive by the end of the week, and the barge ideally should be removed by the middle of next week."
As for flooding in those surrounding communities, Murphree could not confirm the extent, except for some yard flooding he was aware of.