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May 28, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Feds’ next move: interview Skagit bridge pilot-car driver

The driver of a pilot car related to the Skagit Bridge collapse will be interviewed Wednesday, federal investigators said.

An update from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this afternoon added few new details, but the pilot-car angle will be crucial to figuring out why a truck load hit several overhead crossbeams on the I-5 Skagit River bridge. The impact caused one of four steel-truss spans to fall into the river, cutting off the freeway corridor for 71,000 vehicles a day.

The truck driver said he heard no warning from the pilot car immediately before the crash, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said Saturday. Pilot cars are required by state law to have a pole three to six inches higher than the load, to help detect danger.

Washington State Patrol detectives briefly interviewed the pilot car driver right after the crash. They gathered contact information to follow-up, but didn’t impound the pilot car as evidence.

“With everything going on, they just didn’t have time,” said Trooper Mark Francis, a Washington State Patrol spokesman. The detectives moved instead to other tasks such as interviewing the truck driver and taking measurements, Francis said.

At the river, crews from Atkinson Construction continued to pull out bridge beams of interest to the NTSB, before moving on to general demolition.  In this photo, divers are in the river between lifts:

titrOnRiver2

Ellen Banner/The Seattle Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the site is clear, a temporary road deck will be installed by mid-June, followed in September by a permanent span, supported from beneath by a half-dozen giant steel girders, as described in this story.

The entire NTSB update is shown below.

5_28_NTSB_update

 

Comments | Topics: NTSB, Skagit River bridge

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