- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

An unmanned barge drifted out of control in the Severn River northeast of Annapolis early today before lodging against a bridge.

Maryland State Police stopped traffic to the U.S. Route 50 bridge and Maryland Route 450 bridge for fear the barge would strike one of them.

The highways are major thoroughfares leading to the state capital and the Naval Academy.

The barge eventually struck a piling of the Route 50 bridge and became wedged, said state police spokesman Greg Shipley.

(Crews were assessing damage to the bridge and the bridge’s stability. Authorities could not say whether the accident would affect the afternoon rush hour.)

Officials do not know how the barge got loose.

It belongs to Langenfelder Marine Inc. of Stevensville, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Andrew Ely said.

It was hauling riprap, which is rock used to prevent erosion on riverbanks. A Coast Guard investigative team and the owners were en route to the scene.

Mr. Shipley said police were alerted to the problem about 10:25 a.m. and had cleared the bridge before the barge struck shortly after 10:30 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

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