The Mississippi River is closed near St. Louis again. This time, the problem is several barges that broke loose and collided with some docked barges.
The Coast Guard says it happened around midnight near the confluence with the Missouri River.
Early reports indicate that the accident may have caused a significant oil spill in the river.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis is reopened to shipping after the Coast Guard concluded 11 barges that sank last weekend in the rain-swollen waterway weren't a hazard to navigation.
The 15-mile stretch was reopened Monday, while investigators continue trying to determine what caused 114 barges to break free Saturday night from where they were docked in St. Louis County.
Four of the barges hit the Jefferson Barracks Bridge spanning the river between Missouri and Illinois. Officials determined that the bridge was undamaged.
All of the barges that didn't sink were corralled.
Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty says the breakaway could have been caused by various factors related to the elevated current of the rain-swollen river.
Fogarty says efforts to salvage the sunken barges will begin soon.
Flooding on the Mississippi River is being blamed for a barge accident that has partially shut down the JB Bridge.
The Coast Guard says as many as 85 barges broke loose overnight. High and fast water dragged those barges downstream, with at least one sinking.
Officials say up to four barges were stuck to the bridge last night. MoDOT says the bridge was designed to handle the collision, but they still shut it down to conduct inspections.
The river reached an historic low at St. Louis on January first - the ninth lowest level ever recorded, and just a foot-and-a-half above the record low. Since then, snowfall and rain across the Midwest have brought the Mississippi back up to normal levels.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Petersen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they believe the worst is over. But Petersen cautioned that low water levels could return if the drought persists in the Midwest.