CAPE CHARLES, VA – Travelers on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel were delayed for approximately 45 minutes this morning as a runaway barge brushed past the bridge. At approximately 7:00 am on March 30, 2009, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was notified by the United States Coast Guard that a barge was adrift about 1.5 miles west of the North Channel Bridge portion of the facility. The barge was drifting toward the high rise portion of the bridge while being guided by southwesterly winds of 25-30 miles per hour.
At 7:28 am, traffic on the bridge was stopped as the barge drifted in the channel under the southbound span. The barge then turned to the northeast and drifted closer to the beach on Fisherman’s Island. While passing under the northbound span, the stern of the barge slightly rubbed against the bridge’s solid concrete North Channel bridge pier and caused no damage. The barge then ran aground on the beach of Fisherman’s Island. Traffic was released in both directions by 8:15 am.
The rock barge was being towed in the York River by Norfolk Tug when it broke free in the early morning hours.