Traffic flow severely throttled
Monday afternoon a barge, being pushed by a tug boat, the Lindberg Crosby, hit a support pier under the I-10 highway, severely damaging it.
TxDOT was forced to close the westbound lanes of the highway, until they could ascertain the extent of the damage. This caused a severe traffic jam from Highlands clear to the far side of Baytown. In addition, the entry ramp westbound at Four Corners was closed, and traffic backed up on all the side roads clear to Crosby. Some motorists headed north, to US90, but delays of over an hour were reported.
The Coast Guard told this newspaper that an investigation was underway, but did not have details on the cause of the collision at this time. Aerial photos on TV news showed the barge and a tug boat standing by just south of the highway.
Environmentalists such as Jackie Young of the San Jacinto River Coalition, expressed concern that workers repairing the damaged pier might be exposed to toxins from the nearby waste pits, which occur on both the north and south sides of the highway. She also said that the occurrence of a barge out of control was another reason why the waste pits needed totally removed from the river.