New Jersey Snow Storm Sets Hudson River Barges Adrift

Two large construction barges were set loose from the Tappan Zee Bridge on January 3 during a recent snowstorm, causing more scrutiny over the area that has been criticized for safety concerns since a fatal accident last summer. One of the barges made it 15 miles before officials recovered it; the other traveled a shorter distance. Both barges were successfully pushed back into their original positions, however, this is not the first incident of these construction barges moving along the river.

In September 2013, one of the 50-foot construction barges for the Tappan Zee Bridge drifted out a mile before police tracked it down. Officials are now discussing plans to put GPS devices on the barges that would alert authorities if one of the vessels began to drift.

In July 2013, a man crashed a speedboat into one of the construction barges near the bridge, killing a bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man. The boat operator at the time of the accident is now facing serious charges for operating under the influence, but the estates of the two victims have also sued companies in charge of the Tappan Zee Bridge construction, claiming poor lighting on the barges was also to blame for the accident.

When barges are not properly tied off, these large vessels can break free from their lines, potentially causing accidents with other boaters that could lead to serious injuries. When other boaters or barge workers are injured in barge accidents due to frayed, weak lines, they may be able to file for compensation for negligence.

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