In an overnight press conference, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said a truck transporting an over-sized load was to blame for the collapse of a section of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River.
The incident occurred at approximately 7:00 p.m. and sent two cars and three people into the water below. The three suffered minor injuries.
According to Batiste, the truck was carrying a tall load which struck an upper part of the span. The truck made it safely across the bridge and the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.
“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,” KPTV reported.
Scott was believed to be hauling drilling equipment and was being led by a pilot car. The pilot car driver either did not see any potential dangers or failed to warn Scott.
The Interstate 5 bridge was built in 1955. In November 2012, the bridge was given a rating of 47 out of 100, which is significantly lower than the state’s average of 80. Inspectors labeled the bridge as”functionally obsolete.”
Interstate 5 is closed in both directions in Skagit County. According to Washington Department of Transportation, traffic is being diverted off southbound 1-5 at exit 230.
The NTSB has been sent to investigate the incident. At this time, it is unclear how long the highway will be closed.
The department has suggested these alternate routes:
Eastbound SR 20, then south on S. Burlington Blvd. and west on E. College Way (SR 538) to southbound I-5.
Northbound I-5 traffic must exit at Exit 227.
East to E. 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.
[document file=”http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/AA6E5609-38C6-453A-A670-105A4AE2C6CA/0/AlternateRouteMap_I5_Skagit_052413_0100.pdf” width=”600″ height=”400″]