NTSB discusses Eggners Ferry Bridge incident

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - No one drove off the Eggners Ferry Bridge and into Kentucky Lake, but the broken bridge caused months of headache for drivers and business owners.  Not to mention the bridge repair cost:  more than $7 million.

The National Transportation Safety Board says multiple parties are at fault and pointed fingers Tuesday, at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the US Coast Guard, Foss Maritime, the company operating the Delta Mariner.

The cabinet was blamed for not maintaining the navigational lights on the bridge.  The Coast Guard too heat for not making sure the lights were fixed, and for inadequately warning navigators the lights were out.  Finally, Foss Maritime was blamed for not properly following safety operations, not communicating with crew members, and not using all the navigational equipment on board.

From one thing to another, the NTSB talked about everything that went wrong the night the Delta Mariner crashed into the bridge.

They issued five recommendations to make sure it never happens again.

Those five proposals require the Coast Guard develop procedures for bridges with chronic lighting problems, review the way they transmit warning messages, and make sure the Transportation Cabinet maintains the lights.

They also want mariners to develop passage plans with information about all known risks along their route.

And, they want transport companies to clearly communicate expectations to their crew.

The folks at Foss say they've already implemented new safety measures.

An attorney for Foss Maritime said these findings have no impact on a pending court case.  That's because the NTSB findings are not legally admissible in court.

The State of Kentucky is suing the company for $7.1 million. Foss has asked a federal judge to dismiss the case.

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