(UPI) - A barge carrying hazardous materials slammed into one of the Florida Panhandle's major bridges Saturday, causing what appeared to be major damage and closing it in both directions.
The barge hit the three-mile span carrying the two southbound lanes of the highway linking Pensacola with the bedroom community of Gulf Breeze at 6:28 a.m., said Sgt. David Rivers of the Pensacola Police Department.There were no reports of injuries.
"The bridge is visibly damaged. It is tilting toward the water," he said.
Traffic was halted in both directions, and authorities said the bridge will be closed indefinitely.
Rivers said it had been confirmed the barge was carrying hazardous chemicals, but the material was not identified. He said the barge was freed from the bridge about two hours after the accident, eliminating any further danger.
The bridge consists of three independent units - two lanes northbound, two southbound and a fishing bridge. The southbound lanes appeared to be the only ones that were damaged.