- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Two barges, one carrying a 100-foot tall crane, drifted about four miles down the Kentucky River during last weekend’s flooding without causing any significant damage.

Jerry Graves is the executive director of the Kentucky River Authority. He told the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1N8Ntp4) the unmanned barges passed under the new U.S. 27 bridge between Jessamine and Garrard counties. There were rumors that the crane had nicked the bridge, but inspectors found no damage.

The barges stopped when they ran against the old U.S. 27 bridge in Jessamine County near Nicholasville.

“The barges nestled up against the old abandoned bridge, which kept them from going on down the river,” he said. “It’s probably the best thing that could have happened.”

The barges were being used for work on a new dam at Lock 8. They broke loose Friday night, probably from high water and swift currents caused by thunderstorms.

Officials now plan to make sure the barges are securely anchored at the riverbank until they can be moved.

“We’ll wait for the water to go down, then disassemble everything, move it back up the river, and put it where it needs to be,” Graves said.

Things could have been much worse. If the barges had continued drifting, they could have hit the Brooklyn Bridge, which carries U.S. 68 between Fayette and Mercer counties.

“I think we dodged a bullet there,” Graves said.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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