Army Corps removes Schuylkill barge from overpass; I-676 reopens in both directions

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UPDATED: 2:30 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Schuylkill River barge that had been wedged under the I-676 bridge since Tuesday has been towed away, and the Vine Street Expressway has reopened in both directions. 

Around noon Thursday, the barge that got loose during Tropical Storm Isaias was set in position and hauled away from the spot where the river's current was pushing it against the overpass.

This was a delicate operation conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers. They said it would take hours, but three tugboats hauled it away much sooner.

The barge was moved away from the bridge and toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boathouse Row.

Barges being moved away from 676 bridge right now. @KYWNewsradio pic.twitter.com/XnWCZ1fQ6j

— Tim Jimenez (@TimJRadio) August 6, 2020

The Army Corps said the barge was being used in a project to dredge parts of the Schuylkill River above the Fairmount Dam.

PennDOT has been inspecting the bridge to make sure it’s safe, said District Engineer Ken McClain.

“There are no visual indications whatsoever with inspections that were done that there are any major, significant structural issues with that bridge," he said. “The bridge is not in jeopardy of falling down or a catastrophic failure."

McClain said a stiffener bracket was bent, but it can be replaced within a few weeks.

The 676 bridge is bargeless. PennDOT crews now inspecting it before it opens up to traffic. @KYWNewsradio pic.twitter.com/aG6hJMT6Em

— Tim Jimenez (@TimJRadio) August 6, 2020

The situation forced the closure of I-676 between Broad Street and the I-76 interchange, but both eastbound and westbound traffic is open again.