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Damaged bridge stops barge traffic on Arkansas River

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 22, 2014 at 7:10 a.m.

VAN BUREN — Barge traffic is shut down on the Arkansas River in western Arkansas after damage was discovered on a railroad bridge.

Officials say two broken cables tilted the northern end of the bridge in between Fort Smith and Van Buren. Train crews discovered the dysfunctional rail late Monday when a northbound train was heading back from Fort Smith.

The cables are used to raise and lower the bridge.

Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Police Chief Ron Sparks said rail traffic has been diverted until the bridge can be fixed. The Southwest Times Record reported that the damaged bridge has left barge and tugboat traffic at a standstill until the bridge is repaired.

Sparks said bridge inspectors will assess the damage Wednesday and determine the cause of the break.

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