two barges that broke loose from near the Bonner Bridge construction
site during Hurricane Matthew's assault with high winds and storm surge
on the Outer Banks on Sunday morning are still grounded in Avon.
contractor on the bridge replacement project, PCL Civil Constructors,
is working with the N.C. Department of Transportation and other
regulatory agencies, including North Carolina's CAMA, the National Park
Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard to come up with a plan to remove the
barges, which, on Wednesday morning, were still where they had been
pushed by the storm surge.
contractor had a storm plan that was coordinated with regulatory
agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. Nicole Meister, a spokeswoman for
NCDOT said both barges that came loose were moored at a planned
location in the Pamlico Sound about 8 miles southwest of the
Bonner Bridge construction site.
described both barges as "tool" barges -- as in they carry tools.
One of the two carried the impact hammer and water jet used to install
U.S. Coast Guard reports that personnel at Coast Guard Sector Field
Office (SFO) Cape Hatteras received a call from the Dare County
Emergency Operations Center at about 1:50 p.m. Sunday, during the
storm, stating one barge went adrift in Pamlico Sound and was aground
in the vicinity of Weakfish Drive in Avon, in close proximity to
Free Press photographer Don Bowers found that barge up against the
bulkhead of one of the waterfront properties and still apparently
That barge contains approximately 300 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil.
to the Coast Guard, local authorities evacuated people from homes in
the vicinity of the grounded barge at approximately 2:15 p.m. No
injuries were reported.
Coast Guard also reported that contractor PCL sent an equipment
manager, along with personnel from SFO Cape Hatteras, who arrived on
scene around 3:30 p.m. Sunday to investigate.
personnel determined later Sunday that a second 140-foot barge had
broken free of its mooring at the mooring site southeast of the Bonner
Bridge and was also adrift in Pamlico Sound.
aircraft crew with Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10 conducted
overflight patrols and located the second barge at about 11 a.m.
Monday, grounded approximately 7 miles south of the first barge --
between Canadian Hole and Askins Creek in south Avon.
The second barge contains approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel and 300 gallons of hydraulic oil.
There have been no reports of pollution from either barge.
barges are stable and not likely to move given the current water
and weather conditions, Pablo Hernandez, the resident
engineer for the NCDOT and the project manager for Bonner
replacement project, said in an email on Tuesday evening. "All the
equipment on the barges is accounted for, secure, and stable."
said that NCDOT, CAMA, NPS, and PCL had a chance to review
the barges Tuesday and discuss general recovery plan and options.
will continue to monitor the grounded barges as the responsible party
plans salvage efforts," said Capt. Patricia Hill, commander of Coast
Guard Sector North Carolina in Wilmington. "We will ensure the
responsible party conducts a timely and safe salvage in order to
mitigate the potential threats to the environmentally sensitive Pamlico
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