On November 22, 2020, about 2122 local time, the towing vessels Trent Joseph and George C together were towing two barges southbound in the Barataria Waterway near Barataria, Louisiana. While passing through the open Barataria Bridge, the second barge contacted the bridge’s swing span. The bridge, which was the only means of road access for the community of Barataria, was damaged and remained unusable until November 28. There were no injuries and no pollution reported. Damage to the barge was negligible, while damage to the bridge was reported to be more than $500,000.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the contact of the tow of the Trent Joseph with the Barataria Bridge was a corner of the bridge’s swing span protruding outside of its protective fendering into the navigable channel after recently attempted repairs to the limit switch system that controlled the swing span’s rotation limit.