¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

Barge hit Pelican Island Causeway, causing portion to fall, officials say

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A barge hit the Pelican Island Causeway Wednesday morning, causing a piece of the bridge to fall, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

Pelican Island is north of Galveston, with that bridge linking it to the city. It’s the only way on and off Pelican Island.

All vehicular traffic is stopped.

At about 10 a.m., the vessel under tow broke loose and slammed into the railroad side of the bridge, County Judge Mark Henry said. The rail portion is not in use.

Officials believe two crew members on the ship were either thrown or jumped off, but they were rescued quickly, Henry told ABC13.

Vacuum oil gas is leaking from the barge, which has a capacity of 30,000 gallons. It wasn’t immediately known how much oil gas the barge was carrying.

A view from SkyEye showed about a 300-foot sheen on the water in the bay.

The sheriff’s office said that crews are at the scene assessing the damage.

Despite an initial outage, Henry said that the island has since switched over to a secondary power route on the island.

Texas A&M University Galveston is on Pelican Island and shared an alert Wednesday about the bridge closure.

“Sea Aggie Alert: The Pelican Island Bridge is closed to all traffic at this time due to a barge strike. Electricity has been restored and additional updates will be provided as the situation unfolds. The next scheduled update will be at 1200.”

TAMU is one of the main buildings on the island. The university held commencement ceremonies last week.

Pelican Island is also home to a number of attractions, including Seawolf Park and the Galveston Naval Museum, as well as several port-related industries.

Of note, the Battleship Texas has been in dry-dock on Pelican Island as it undergoes major renovations. It re-entered the water in March. It’s expected to reopen sometime in 2025 or 2026.

What to know about Pelican Island Causeway

The causeway itself is 3,239 feet long with a span length of 164.1 feet.

proposal was put forth to replace the bridge, with construction to start in summer 2025.

It would stretch from SH 275 to Seawolf Parkway.

The Seawolf Parkway bridge connects Pelican Island to Galveston Island within the city of Galveston.

“The deterioration of the Seawolf Parkway bridge has progressed to the extent that any additional deterioration could result in sudden bridge closure. Since this bridge provides sole access to Pelican Island, bridge closure would effectively cut off access for all users, including evacuation and emergency services,” an overview of the project read.

The bridge was constructed in 1960.

Authorities are concerned now with the accident Wednesday that the barge will be rendered unusable going forward.

Watch live breaking news coverage from ABC13 on our 24/7 streaming news channel.

This story comes from our news partner ABC13 Houston.