Barge Collision With Galveston Bridge Collapses Rail Line And Creates Oil Spill



A barge collided with Pelican Island Bridge in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday morning, partially collapsing a rail line running adjacent to the bridge and causing an oil spill, according to a statement from authorities, though no injuries have been reported.

Key Facts

The bridge, which is the only roadway to Pelican Island, a small island north of Galveston with about 9,000 people, has been closed to all vehicular traffic.

The rail line attached to the bridge partially collapsed in the collision, though a video of the incident’s aftermath appears to show the bridge’s road was untouched.

The oil spill caused by the collision is being assessed by the U.S. Coast Guard, which will conduct a containment and cleanup process, according to the statement—the extent of the spill was not immediately clear.

Texas A&M University’s Galveston campus, which is located on Pelican Island, said in a tweet that power has been restored to campus after electricity was temporarily interrupted to the island.

Photos of the incident show a part of the railway fell on top of the barge, which remains in place at the site of the collision.

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What We Don’t Know

Authorities have not shared information about how or why the barge collided with the bridge.


A separate, much larger maritime collision occurred in Baltimore in late March, when a large cargo ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge after experiencing two power failures. The incident resulted in the bridge’s collapse and the deaths of six construction workers who were on the bridge during the collision.

Key Background

In addition to Texas A&M University’s Galveston campus, Pelican Island is home to a naval museum and is linked to the larger city of Galveston by the bridge involved in the collision Wednesday. Pelican Island forms a bay with Galveston, a coastal resort city on the southeast coast of Texas set on a barrier island between the mainland and the Gulf of Mexico.

Further Reading

Barge hits a bridge in Galveston, Texas, damaging the structure and causing an oil spill (AP)

Cargo Ship That Struck Baltimore Bridge Had 2 Blackouts Day Before Incident, Report Says (Forbes)