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Miss. River stretch reopens after barge breakaways

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis is reopened to shipping after the Coast Guard concluded 11 barges that sank last weekend in the rain-swollen waterway weren’t a hazard to navigation.

The 15-mile stretch was reopened Monday, while investigators continue trying to determine what caused 114 barges to break free Saturday night from where they were docked in St. Louis County.

Four of the barges hit the Jefferson Barracks Bridge spanning the river between Missouri and Illinois. Officials determined that the bridge was undamaged.

All of the barges that didn’t sink were corralled.

Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty says the breakaway could have been caused by various factors related to the elevated current of the rain-swollen river.

Fogarty says efforts to salvage the sunken barges will begin soon.

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