Runway Barges Cause ‘Minimal’ Damage To Dam

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Army engineers say two runaway barges did “minimal” damage when they struck an Arkansas River dam.

The barges, filled with 1,500 tons of fertilizer, swept down the flood-swollen river and hit the Webbers Falls Lock and Dam about noon Thursday and sank. Town officials in the riverfront town of Webbers Falls had warned residents to flee for fear such a collision would catastrophically breach the dam and flood the town.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Army Corps of Engineers said their initial inspection “found no integrity issues” that make the engineers concerned the dam’s locks and flood gates wouldn’t perform as designed.

However, the engineers said the wreckage of the barges obstruct three of the dam’s 12 flood gates, preventing them from closing. The corps says it “will continue to monitor and assess the dam as water conditions change.”

Runaway barges cause ‘minimal’ damage to dam