A construction barge carrying a crane on Wednesday evening failed to clear the underside of Juneau’s Douglas Bridge.
The Marine Exchange of Alaska logged the tug Columbia Layne at 7:41 p.m. transiting the narrows of Gastineau Channel. The tide was at an ebb, about two hours before it would reach its low mark for the evening.
A bystander with a cell phone caught the sights and sounds of a steel crane jutting up in the air as the barge failed to clear the underside of the steel and concrete span. The crane whip-sawed upward after it dragged along the underside of the bridge. The tug and barge continued on its southeastern track.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Blackburn says the collision was reported to Sector Juneau at about 9:30 p.m.
“The impact was confirmed and there was no damage reported to the vessel or the bridge,” she told CoastAlaska.
Alaska Department of Transportation’s regional spokesman Sam Dapcevich released a short statement saying bridge engineers were on scene within an hour of the apparent accident.
“Limited access and diminishing daylight kept them from completing a full inspection, but they were able to determine that the damage was not severe and that a closure was unnecessary,” he wrote Thursday morning.
Following a more thorough inspection that included its interior, he said, they concluded the bridge did not sustain any serious damage.
“There is a drag line visible originating from one of the impact points,” he added in a subsequent email. “The damage appears superficial and should not hinder the structural performance of the bridge.”
The state’s Douglas Bridge is a 620-foot span that connects downtown Juneau with Douglas Island.
“Grout work will be needed to repair the damaged areas – the repairs are necessary to protect the concrete structure from the elements,” he added.
The Columbia Layne is a 189-ton tug owned by Channel Construction of Juneau. Vessel tracking showed the tug setting a course to return to port.
This story has been updated to reflect that a subsequent inspection by state engineers concluded the bridge was not seriously damaged.