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    07/25/14 16:45:23

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FOLLOW-UP: Coast Guard investigation of Brooks Bridge accident

OKALOOSA COUNTY   --  The Coast Guard is leading the investigation into why a barge crashed into the Brooks Bridge yesterday.

The crash paralyzed rush hour traffic, as the bridge is the main connector between Fort Walton Beach and Destin.

Here's where things stand right now.
The bridge has been inspected and deemed structurally sound.
All four lanes of traffic are open.
Water service to Okaloosa Island has been restored.

The Coast Guard says it's too early to offer a timeline on the investigation.
Meanwhile, the crash has raised some other questions.

That pipe right there underneath the bridge railing is the only water supply to Okaloosa Island.
   
Crews worked through the night to repair it, but it left some people wondering what could have happened.

First the impact a chain of four barges hitting the top of the Brooks Bridge.
Then, water pours out of a ripped pipe for half an hour before it's shut off.

Chrissy Hartley/Witness "That was our main concern was like is that the main waterline to the island? And then it just kept gushing and gushing and gushing"
   
There are three water tanks on Okaloosa Island, but one is empty right now because it's being painted.

700,000 gallons sounds like a lot, but county leaders warned it's not, especially in case of a fire.

Ryan Bullard/FWB "They actually advised people not to use any water. Not even so much a boil water advisory, but just simply not to use any water, which is one of the most critical things we have"

County water crews worked through the night, 13 hours straight in dangerous conditions.
   
Safety required a painstakingly slow pace, with the pressure of getting the bridge back open on their shoulders.

Ryan Bullard "I didn't know there was only one water source. I think they need to construct more water sources to Okaloosa Island"
   
Water pressure is an indicator of supply.
While the pipe was out of service the pressure dropped from 51 PSI to 47.
   
Anything below 40 is a big problem.
Terry Ramsey/Southern Vacation Rentals "If something happened major to that bridge, what would we do? We'd have to conserve water for a long time, have water shipped in from Destin? It would be crazy"

If water crews hadn't been able to repair that water line in place, Plan "B" would have been to run an above ground line on the bridge.
   
But it would have taken much longer.