Workers starting to build replacement Skagit River bridge


— Work is on track for the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River to reopen in mid-month, the Transportation Department said Monday, June 3.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet finished its site investigation, but a contractor has started assembling a temporary span that can be rolled into position to replace the collapsed section, DOT spokesman Travis Phelps said.

Clearing and investigating debris from the bottom of the river is slow-going.

"Portions of the bridge are buried in about four feet of mud that's under the bridge that's under water," Phelps said.

Investigators are documenting components as they are removed from the river, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said Monday in an email.

A 160-foot section of the bridge crumbled May 23 when a truck carrying an oversize load hit a girder. The truck made it off the bridge but two vehicles went into the water and three people were rescued.

An NTSB investigator traveled to the headquarters of Mullen Trucking in Aldersyde, Alberta, to gather information about the truck that was carrying the oversize load, the NTSB said.

If the company is negligent, the state could make a claim to recover damages, Phelps said. The temporary span and a replacement this fall will cost about $15 million. The federal government is paying most of that.

Traffic is detoured through Mount Vernon and Burlington until a temporary bridge is in place. The span carried an average of 71,000 vehicles a day on the main route between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.


The Washington Department of Transportation has released this animated video showing how the temporary bridge over the Skagit River will be built:

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service