Barges break loose, force Pittsburgh bridges to close



Barges broke loose early Monday morning along the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, forcing the closure of bridges in Pittsburgh, officials said.

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The barges were reported to have broken loose about 5 a.m.

The West End, McKees Rocks, Fort Pitt, Liberty and Smithfield Street bridges were closed, but they have since reopened.

Barges could be seen resting against the Fort Pitt and Smithfield Street bridges.

Bridge inspection crews worked to determine whether any of the bridges sustained damage before reopening them, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials said.

According to the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the Panhandle Bridge took a direct hit from one of the loose barges. A contractor will inspect the bridge to determine whether it's safe for the light rail system to use.

"With safety our top priority, we will need to inspect the bridge for any damage before operating service on it," the Port Authority tweeted.

The Glenwood, Birmingham, Hot Metal, South 10th Street and Interstate 79 Neville Island bridges remained open Monday morning and were able to be used as alternate routes, according to PennDOT.

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