A barge carrying a crane hit the underside of Juneau’s Douglas Bridge

The Douglas Bridge as seen from the 1600 block of Evergreen Avenue, Juneau. The Juneau area experienced highs in the 60s on Thursday, May 17, 2018. The National Weather Service forecast a partially cloudy Saturday and rain was possible late Sunday. (Photo courtesy Tripp J Crouse)
The Douglas Bridge as seen from the 1600 block of Evergreen Avenue, Juneau. (Photo by Tripp Crouse / KTOO)

A construction barge carrying a crane on Wednesday evening failed to clear the underside of Juneau’s Douglas Bridge. A bystander recorded the incident from shore.

The Marine Exchange logged the tug Columbia Layne at 7:41 p.m. transiting the narrows of Gastineau Channel. The tide was going out, 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.

The video was shared widely on social media Wednesday night.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Blackburn says state transportation engineers did a visual inspection.

“The impact was confirmed and there was no damage reported to the vessel or the bridge” she said.

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.

State transportation engineers conducted a follow up inspection on Thursday. According to the agency, the crane caused what appears to be superficial damage that should not hinder the Douglas Bridge’s structural integrity.

The state Douglas Bridge is a 620-foot span that connects downtown Juneau with Douglas Island. 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.

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