^Great! Do you know if they have the truck driver in custody yet or did he just keep driving after hitting the bridge?
I-5 bridge collapses over Skagit River, no fatalities
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- An Interstate 5 bridge over a river north of
Seattle collapsed Thursday evening, dumping vehicles and people into the
water, the Washington State Patrol said.
The four-lane bridge over the Skagit River collapsed about 7 p.m.,
Trooper Mark Francis said. There was no confirmation how many people
were in the water, but Skagit County Sheriff's Department said three
people have been rescued from the water and were being transported to
hospitals. Two were transported to Skagit Valley Hospital and were
reportedly in stable condition.
State authorities say there were no fatalities.
PHOTOS: Photos of I-5 bridge collapse over Skagit River
While the cause of the collapse is still unknown, witnesses reported seeing a semitruck with an oversized load crossing the bridge and striking the beams on the north end before the bridge collapsed.
"I saw it. I was less than 50 feet away from the truck when it hit
it," witness Dale Ogden told KING 5. "I had just passed it in the fast
lane southbound and it had an oversized load. It was approximately 12
feet wide and over 14 feet tall. It was in the slow lane when I came
by...I was behind the flag car and in front of the truck in the other
lane and I saw the whip - normally tells you how high they can clear -
start hitting the bridge. I looked in my rearview mirror knowing this
was not going to turn out well."
"I saw the truck strike the right corner of the bridge. It almost
tipped the truck over but it came back down. It tipped it up to about a
30 degree angle to the left and it came back down on its wheels and
almost instantaneously behind that I saw girders falling in my rearview
Washington Department of Transportation officials were investigating reports that the truck had struck the bridge.
Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, said he could see three
cars with what appeared to be one person per vehicle. The vehicles were
sitting still in the water, partially submerged and partly above the
waterline, and the apparent drivers were sitting either on top of the
vehicles or on the edge of open windows.
Helicopter footage showed several rescue boats at the bridge collapse
scene with several ambulances waiting on the shore. One rescue boat left
the scene with one person strapped into a stretcher.
A damaged red car and a damaged pickup truck were visible in the water,
which appeared so shallow it barely reached the top of the car's hood.
Crowds of people lined the river to watch the scene unfold.
The bridge is not considered structurally deficient but is listed as
being "functionally obsolete" - a category meaning that their design is
outdated, such as having narrow shoulders are low clearance underneath,
according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration.
The bridge was built in 1955 and has a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of
100, according to federal records. That is well below the statewide
average rating of 80, according to an Associated Press analysis of
federal data, but 759 bridges in the state have a lower sufficiency
According to a 2012 Skagit County Public Works Department, 42 of the
county's 108 bridges that are 50 years or older. The document says eight
of the bridges are more than 70 years old and two are over 80.
Washington state was given a C in the American Society of Civil
Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card and a C- when it came to the
state's bridges. The group said more than a quarter of Washington's
7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient of functionally
The collapse has halted traffic in both direction on I-5, and
southbound traffic was reportedly backed up as far as the Canadian
border at Blaine. In Mount Vernon, southbound traffic was being diverted
to SR 20 while northbound traffic was being diverted to the East
College Way Exit. Drivers are advised to avoid the area altogether.
Edited by carolina cutie - May 24 2013 at 12:37am