A barge partially loaded with mulch broke away from its dock at Archer Daniels Midland’s terminal in Ottawa and wound up nestled against a pier underneath the Veterans Memorial Bridge before it was towed away Tuesday morning.
An initial inspection showed no damage to the bridge, said Tom Hufnagel, operations engineer with IDOT's district office in Ottawa. Further inspection is planned.
There were no injuries reported and minimal damage to the barge, said Jackie Anderson, media relations at ADM. ADM worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, IDOT and local authorities to manage the situation.
The half-loaded barge was reported missing at about 3 a.m. Monday and then found using a tracking device. A tug arrived after 9 a.m. to retrieve the barge.
The bridge remained open to car traffic and drew a crowd of spectators along the hill across the river, who were treated to a honk from the tug.
The Illinois River was under a major flood warning Tuesday in Ottawa. At 7 a.m., the river levels were about 9.3 feet above flood stage — and roughly about 1.4 feet from record flooding.