Metro-East News

Towboat strikes Eads Bridge, workers in Alton put up flood barriers

Tugboat hits the Eads Bridge

A KMOV video shows a tugboat called The Legacy striking the Eads Bridge early Monday morning. The boat may have struck the bridge due to rising water levels from continued rain.
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A KMOV video shows a tugboat called The Legacy striking the Eads Bridge early Monday morning. The boat may have struck the bridge due to rising water levels from continued rain.

A towboat struck the Eads Bridge on Friday morning, possibly due to rising flood waters.

KMOV reported that officials from the United States Coast Guard, who are currently investigating, said the tugboat dubbed The Legacy, sustained damage to its pilot house but there were no injuries.

The bridge was not damaged.

The Coast Guard closed a portion of the Mississippi to all vessel traffic from mile marker 179 to 184 due to extremely high water levels and fast moving currents Friday morning.

Restrictions are set to be lifted as soon as conditions improve.

Grafton, Alton and several other cities in Southern Illinois are set to be in major flood stages with rain continuing into the weekend. Businesses in Grafton were preparing to shut down over the weekend.

A sudden surge on the Mississippi near State Street in Alton has closed several roads. The city’s public work employees are putting up flood barriers.

The weather service has predicted a crest of 35.5 feet by Sunday or Monday in Alton, the fifth-highest on record.

Around Illinois, the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for several river across Illinois on Friday after several days of rain soaked the state earlier this week. More than 5 inches fell in places like Aurora, Morris and Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare international airports.

A disaster proclamation has been issued by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for 34 counties along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers due to flooding. The counties include Madison, Monroe and St. Clair in the metro-east.

Friday’s declaration is to ensure communities battling floods caused by heavy rain will receive state support. That support includes the Corrections Department providing work crews to support sandbagging efforts.

Downriver, the Mississippi at Chester on Friday was at nearly 37 feet with the weather service forecasting it to crest at more than 43 feet by Monday. Flood stage is 27 feet.

The latest round of Midwestern flooding has claimed at least three lives, closed hundreds of roads and forced residents of threatened towns to shore up threatened levees with sandbags as waters rise to historic levels in some communities.

The Illinois Department of Transportation also announced it will close U.S 67 at Illinois 100 near Alton.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings Friday along a large swath of the Mississippi River, as well as flash flood watches for parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas after recent rounds of heavy rain.

Across the river, in Winfied, Missouri, sand baggers the city asking for people to help sand bag as soon as possible, KSDK reported earlier today.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.

Kavahn Mansouri covers government accountability for the Belleville News-Democrat, holding officials and institutions accountable and tracking how taxpayer money is spent.
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