Barge crashes into Brooks Bridge (slideshow)

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 05:28 PM.

A couple who witnessed the barge hitting the bridge said the barge kept going forward as the equipment went backwards and hit the barges behind it.

They said it took about 15 seconds for the barge to stop and reverse, but by that time concrete, rails and water had started coming down.

About two feet of the guard railing along the bridge appears to be destroyed. There is minor damage to the road, according to people at the scene.

Department of Transportation engeineers are en route to the bridge to assess the damage.

"We'll have a better idea what is going on with the bridge after we get an assessment," said Ian Satter, a spokesman for the DOT.

The Okaloosa Sheriff's Office is directing motorists to use the Mid-Bay Bridge as an alternate route.

Okaloosa County Water and Sewer Director Jeff Littrell said he and his staff are trying to reach the bridge but have been delayed by traffic congestion. Onlookers have reported water shooting from the pipes that run over the bridge.

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