A truck carrying an oversized load hit a bridge on Interstate 5 near Mount Vernon, Wash., yesterday, causing part of the span to collapse and fall into the Skagit River about 50 feet below, Fox News reports.
At an overnight news conference, John Batiste, Washington’s patrol chief, said it was the tractor trailer carrying a tall load that caused the bridge to crumble after it hit an upper part of the span. The truck made it off the bridge, and the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. Two vehicles also fell into the river below, but the three occupants suffered only minor injuries.
The bridge was inspected twice last year and repairs were made, Lynn Peterson, Washington’s transportation secretary, told a Fox News reporter. The bridge was not classified as structurally deficient, but a Federal Highway Administration database listed it as being “functionally obsolete,” meaning that the design is outdated. It was built in 1955.
Traffic in both directions was disrupted and detours have since been set up to try to ease congestion. Traffic along the route, which is used by an average 71,000 vehicles a day, is expected to be affected for some time. Officials are working on a plan for a replacement.
Associate Editor Mark Szakony discusses the likely impact of the collapse.