Video: Barge Hits Bridge Linking Galveston to Texas A&M Maritime Academy

Rail bridge collapse barge strike
Courtesy Galveston County Office of Emergency Management

Published May 15, 2024 2:18 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday morning, a barge hit a bridge to Pelican Island near Galveston, Texas, shutting down a road causeway and spilling oil into the water. The road connects a variety of shipyard and maritime enterprises - including Texas A&M University's maritime college - with the rest of the city.

Galveston's office of emergency management said that the barge hit the bridge at about 0930 on Wednesday morning. Video from the scene appears to show that the barge struck a decommissioned rail bridge, which runs parallel to the causeway. A span of the rail bridge has collapsed.

The extent of the barge's penetration beyond the rail bridge - towards the separate causeway structure used by road vehicles - was not immediately clear. The Texas Department of Transportation is on scene and evaluating the damage. 

In a statement, Texas A&M University confirmed that the bridge is now closed to all traffic. Electricity to the island was also briefly interrupted but has now been reconnected. An incident command center has been set up on campus and is working with state officials to determine the impact of the bridge shutdown on the school.

Over the course of the day, first responders and road engineers supervised a series of vehicle evacuations on one lane only, allowing residents and workers to get from Pelican Island to the Galveston side of the bridge. 

Because of the oil pollution in the water, the U.S. Coast Guard has temporarily shut down a short stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway while cleanup efforts are under way. 

Courtesy Galveston Office of Emergency Management