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Towboat company paying for post-accident bridge inspection

VICKSBURG — A towboat company that owns the barges that struck a Mississippi River bridge in Vicksburg will be billed $2,200 for the span’s post-accident inspection.

A two-barge tow pushed by the towboat Natures Way Endeavor, based in Theodore, Ala., struck the bridge at about 1 a.m. Jan. 27, causing one of the barges to leak 7,000 gallons of crude oil into the river and shutting down all barge traffic for six days on a 16-mile stretch.

Vicksburg Bridge Commission chairman Robert Moss tells the Vicksburg Post the $2,000 covers the labor costs of the agency’s contract engineer, G.E.C., who inspected the bridge after the accident.

Moss said the bridge was deemed safe for continued rail traffic, but that bill, and perhaps other costs, will be the subject of reimbursement talks with the Nature’s Way Marine LLC.

“G.E.C. will bill us and we will notify the tow company,” Moss said.

Moss said the commission will seek to have overtime costs for six employees reimbursed.

The Coast Guard completed cleanup of the oil spill near Vicksburg earlier this month. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

The Coast Guard said 5,300 feet of boom was deployed to contain the spill and 159 workers responded to the incident.

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