COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - A barge broke loose during the night and struck the spillway at the Stennis Lock and Dam in Columbus.
Tenn-Tom administrator Mitch Mays said the loaded barge broke loose from the Clay County port sometime overnight.
The barge made its way to the Stennis where it struck the spillway then sunk.
This is blocking three of the five gates on the spillway.
As a result, Mays said the Army Corps of Engineers closed the lock and spillway.
The Corps is using the lock as a spillway bypass.
The nearby park is also closed until further notice.
Mays said the closure will create challenges for businesses.
“Any industry that is utilizing the Tenn-Tom Waterway to move cargo north and south of Tenn-Tom will not be able to transit the Stennis lock until it’s reopened.”
Industries from Kentucky to Mobile, Alabama, often pass through the Stennis lock.
He doesn't believe the temporary closure will significantly harm any industry.
Engineers believe the water will drop during the weekend, hopefully allowing them to reopen the lock as quickly as next week.
Although engineers won’t know the full extent of the damage to the spillway until the water level drops, they told Mays one of the gates will probably need to be replaced.