PADUCAH— On Monday the Coast Guard approved the transit of the Delta Mariner to a safe harbor on the Tennessee River nearly two weeks after it collided with the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge causing a portion of it to collapse.
Salvage workers successfully cut the Delta Mariner free from subsurface bridge debris Monday morning and will continue removing remaining portions of the bridge from the bow of the ship.
Salvage operations were approved by the Coast Guard on Friday and work to free the ship from debris below the surface of the water began on Saturday morning and continued throughout the weekend.
“The salvage operations are proceeding as planned, and it is a significant milestone that the ship has now been relocated downriver and clear of the Eggner Ferry Bridge,” said Cmdr. Claudia Gelzer, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah.
According to the plan approved by the Coast Guard, the next step is to begin removing the debris above the waterline of the ship. Once all the debris is removed, the ship will be moved to a facility for any needed repairs.
Last week Senator Rand Paul spoke with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear regarding the Eggner Ferry Bridge collapse.
Sen. Paul reiterated his intention to use every avenue at his disposal to expedite the replacement of the bridge. Sen. Paul vowed to help the local and state officials cut through federally imposed red tape.
“From years-long environmental impact studies, to backed-up permit processes, the current state of federal agencies and regulations can often make it impossible to complete a project in a timely and cost-efficient manner,” Sen. Paul said. “The people of Kentucky deserve better and need their government to expedite this process, not block it. I will continue to work with local and state officials to give them all the support they need at the federal level to rebuild this bridge and to begin moving on other vital bridge and infrastructure projects around the Commonwealth.”