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Barge company, officials talk cleanup after crash

Barge company, officials talk cleanup after crash
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The owners of a barge that slammed into and collapsed a bridge over Kentucky Lake have been talking with western Kentucky officials about how to deal with tons of debris at the bottom of the waterway.
Judge-executives in Marshall and Trigg counties said they have been in contact with representatives from Foss Maritime about how to handle the wreckage left from the Jan. 27 bridge collapse. Foss Maritime is the shipping company that operates the Delta Mariner, the cargo vessel that collapsed a 300-foot section of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge.
A Foss Maritime spokeswoman said company officials are open to ideas that are environmentally sound and fair.
Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries told The Paducah Sun (http://bit.ly/K7zfz2) that the company didn’t make an offer, but is talking about the cleanup.
“Obviously, we’ve been greatly impacted by the bridge being out those four months,” Humphries said. “Things are returning to normal, but what you don’t see is the wreckage 13 feet below the water that was left behind.”
Both Humphries and Marshall County Judge-Executive Mike Miller said they were unsure how much input their respective fiscal courts would have in the decision-making process. The judges said there was some talk of a potential contribution by Foss to local emergency services that responded to the collapse.
With debris removal costs likely to exceed $1 million, Suzanne Lagoni with Foss Maritime Company said the possibility of turning the debris into a fish habitat was one idea floated to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Lagoni said Foss is developing plans to handle its “fair share” of the removal and expects the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to do the same.
“There were very preliminary discussions with Kentucky Fish and Game, and that is all it’s been at this point,” Lagoni said. “There are no proposals on the table and no money has been discussed.”
Miller said the U.S. Coast Guard and KDFWR would likely have to weigh in on any decision regarding potential water hazards or allowing debris to remain for use by wildlife services. No one could be reached Wednesday from the U.S. Coast Guard branch office in Louisville.
“It’s a safety issue,” Humphries said. “There’s also the wildlife side of things. It seems, to me, like it makes sense to have everything out of the way.”
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com
Published in The Messenger 6.15.12

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