UPDATE (2/28/19) The Huey P. Long Bridge was opened just in time for the commute home on Wednesday evening.
Jefferson Parish Council member Chris Roberts said Wednesday a vessel struck the bridge earlier in the afternoon, causing both spans to shut down.
Police blocked off the bridge in both directions.
WDSU reporter Jennifer Crockett said the accident was reported after 1 p.m. and involved a motor tanker vessel called the Clio. Officials believe only the light at the top of the vessel struck the bridge.
Officials said the ship was not carrying anything at the time of the crash.
Crews inspected the bridge several times before reopening both spans. The closure lasted a couple hours before the bridge reopened around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
(2/27/19) The Latest on flooding in the South (all times local):
The Mississippi River is closed to navigation at Vicksburg, Mississippi, after a 30-barge tow struck a railroad bridge between the city and Louisiana as rain-swollen rivers are spilling over banks across the South.
Bridge superintendent Herman Smith tells The Vicksburg Post the MV Chad Tregrache, operated by Marquette Transportation of Paducah, Kentucky, struck the bridge just after 7 a.m. Wednesday.
U.S. Coast Guard officials say two grain barges sank, but no injuries were reported. Coast Guard officials are on site investigating.
The railroad bridge, owned by a local government commission and operated by the Kansas City Southern Railway, is also closed.
Tows frequently strike the bridge, especially when the Mississippi River is high. River levels at Vicksburg are rising and are predicted to crest later this month at one of the 10 highest levels on record.
Rain-swollen rivers are spilling over their banks across the South, and a Mississippi mayor says water has surrounded his town and forced some families to leave their homes.
Forecasters say flood warnings were in place Wednesday in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
In Glendora, Mississippi, The Greenwood Commonwealth reported Wednesday that the town of 151 people is caught between the flooded Tallahatchie River to the north and the Black Bayou to the south.
Glendora Mayor Johnny Thomas says the water is within inches of covering U.S. Highway 49 in both directions.
Thomas says “I hope it doesn’t get worse. We’ve only got one way out of here.”
City workers filled sandbags Tuesday afternoon, and a shelter opened for those displaced.