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Skagit Bridge Collapse

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My family has a little cabin up by Deception Pass. It takes about 1.5 hours to get there if traffic is slow and if there speed traps that we’re looking out for. Speed traps are no longer the only problem on our route; the new dangers of shaky bridges are now facing Washington State drivers.

The I5 bridge in Mt. Vernon over the Skagit River collapsed on Thursday, May 23rd, dropping three unsuspecting travelers into the icy cold river. Thankfully no protests took place in the downtown streets of Mt. Vernon of angry hipsters who missed their once-a-year camping trip. Witnesses say that a semi-truck with an oversized load hit the top of the bridge’s supports and kept driving through. The truck was carrying a blue container.

The driver right behind the semi-truck and his wife both ended up in the river; he sustained bruises and cuts in addition to a dislocated shoulder, which he popped back in to help his shocked wife, according to WhidbeyNewsTimes.com. Not exactly a great start to a possible romantic weekend. Another man was also plunged into the river and was admitted to the United General Hospital in Sedro-Woolley hospital. Luckily, all three of the travelers survived.

Rescue crews flooded the area and traffic was backed up all the way to Kincaid Street. Helicopters, ambulances, and police cars towing small boats were scrambling through the narrow streets of downtown Mt. Vernon, trying to get to the river. Onlookers parked on the side of normally busy streets and ran across to get a look at the action going on in the river.

Traffic has been routed around the bridge for now, going through the cities in the surrounding area. The problem with this is that these bridges are not meant to be used for as much traffic as they are being forced to. However, there are plans for a temporary fix. Governor Jay Inslee told WNYC.org, "There are no more important issue right now to the economy of the state of Washington than getting this bridge up and running." According to WNYC.org, the state plans on completing a temporary bridge in June. A permanent structure will be finished in the Fall. The total cost of the fix is estimated to be around $15 million.

Hopefully this will be a rare event so drivers won’t have to be constantly on the look-out for oversized blue containers going over our bridges.




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