No estimate for reopening date of collapsed WA bridge - KPTV - FOX 12

No estimate for reopening date of collapsed WA bridge

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Detour Map. Courtesy: WDOT Detour Map. Courtesy: WDOT
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    The Interstate 5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River was built in 1955 and was inspected two times last year in August and November. Transportation Department spokesman Noel Brady in Seattle saysMore >
    The Interstate 5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River was built in 1955 and was inspected two times last year in August and November.More >
MOUNT VERNON, WA (KPTV) -

A day after a major bridge collapse dumped two cars into the Skagit River in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said there's no estimate for a reopening date of the Interstate 5 bridge but that federal officials are looking for a temporary replacement.

On Thursday night, a Canadian truck driver headed for Vancouver, WA, clipped a girder on the top of the Skagit River Bridge, triggering the collapse.

The two lanes of the I-5 bridge in northern Washington went down around 7 p.m. No one was killed.

The Washington State Patrol reports William Scott, 41, from Spruce Grove, Canada, was driving a Mullen Trucking semi out of Alberta and headed for southwest Washington.

Police believe he was hauling drilling equipment and had a pilot car in front of him, but the driver of the pilot car failed to warn Scott or see any potential problem ahead, troopers said.

"I was commentating to my wife his truck and his load were about 4 feet wider than the actual bridge," said witness Dan Sligh. "He hit the bridge ... there was a big puff of dust."

Washington State Patrol says Scott managed to make it off the bridge after hitting the girder.

Two cars went into the water as the bridge collapsed, and three people, all from the Mount Vernon area, were rescued and are recovering.

"The fact that these rescuers were able to pull this off is remarkable," Inslee said.

Crowds lined up on both sides of the river to watch the situation unfold.

Scott remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out and to have his blood alcohol level tested.

The collapsed I-5 bridge is used by more than 65,000 vehicles every day. It's located on the most traveled path between Seattle and Canada. Inslee said "you cannot overstate the importance of this corridor" to the state's economy.

For the immediate future, all drivers will have to find a new way to pass through the Mount Vernon area.

WSDOT released the following detour information to get around the closed bridge:

  • Traffic is being diverted off southbound I-5 at Exit 230. For an alternate route, take eastbound SR 20, then south on South Burlington Boulevard and west on East College Way (SR 538) to southbound I-5.
  • Northbound I-5 traffic must exit at Exit 227. An alternate route is east to East College Way to northbound Riverside Drive-S. Burlington Boulevard, then west on George Hopper Road to I-5. To use SR 9 as an alternate northbound route, bypassing Mount Vernon, take Exit 221 at SR 534 east to northbound SR 9 to SR 20 westbound to I-5.

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