Topic: Skagit River bridge
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December 6, 2013 at 7:30 AM
The Associated Press
BURLINGTON, Skagit County — The Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge is being named after Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean O’Connell in a ceremony Friday at Burlington.
While directing detoured traffic on May 31, O’Connell was killed when his motorcycle collided with a truck.
A section of the bridge collapsed in the river May 23 when it was hit by an oversize truck. Traffic was detoured for a month while a temporary span was erected.
November 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM
The Associated Press
MOUNT VERNON — The Transportation Department says metal work on the Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge is complete.
The last trusses were reconfigured Friday, giving 18 feet of clearance for all traffic lanes.
The Skagit Valley Herald reports there may be some short closures this week to finish maintenance and painting.
A section of the bridge collapsed May 23 when an arching truss was hit by an oversized truck. Workers installed an emergency span and then replaced it with a permanent span.
New, squared-off trusses should prevent a similar strike.
September 15, 2013 at 7:30 AM
The new permanent replacement span over the Skagit River has reopened — nearly seven hours later than originally planned.
The state Department of Transportation said the new north span was opened to traffic just before 2 p.m. Sunday, much later than the expected 7 a.m. opening. The open was delayed initially because the cutting of steel plates to secure the new permanent bridge took longer than expected, says DOT.
Then work crews had to wait for newly painted stripes on the roadway to dry.
Construction teams had worked overnight to slide a new 915-ton bridge span over the river to replace a temporary span.
The original north span of the freeway bridge collapsed May 23 when a tall truckload hit several overhead crossbeams. A military-style bridge was temporarily installed June 19, with a reduced speed limit of 40 mph.
Drivers had to detour through the business district of Burlington until the new span was opened to traffic.
To see a time-lapse of the new permanent span being moved into place, click here.
August 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM
The first of eight concrete girders arrived today at the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge, where workers are trying to erect a new span by early September.
The span would replace a bridge section that collapsed in May, after a truck’s overheight load smacked several beams. The new span will be supported from beneath by girders, instead of overhead trusswork.
Each of the 162-foot-long girders weighs 168,000 pounds, similar to a space shuttle, the state Department of Transportation says in an update.
Max J. Kuney of Spokane is lead contractor on the $7 million span replacement. Traffic currently moves on a military-style bridge made of reusable steel rods and beams.
Later this year, overhead crossbeams in the remaining three spans of the old bridge will be cut and rebuilt, to allow 18 feet of clearance in all four travel lanes, as described in this earlier Seattle Times story.
July 24, 2013 at 8:03 AM
The Associated Press
MOUNT VERNON — The state Department of Transportation plans additional work to raise the clearance on the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon.
Officials told Skagit County commissioners Tuesday a new project would put the trusses 18 feet above the roadway. Current trusses are just 15 feet, 6 inches at the fog line. Assistant project engineer Polly Brooks says that’s the lowest in the state.
The Skagit Valley Herald reports (http://bit.ly/12iPxUu) federal money will pay for the $3 million project. The work this fall will follow the construction of a permanent replacement for the section that collapsed May 23 when a truss was hit by an oversize truck.
That closed the bridge for a month. A temporary span is in place, and the replacement is expected in early September.
June 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM
Raw video of a commuter crossing the temporary bridge. (Rick Lund / The Seattle Times)
MOUNT VERNON — Traffic on the Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge at Mount Vernon will be restricted Saturday morning while the Transportation Department gives the temporary span a checkup.
The department says crews will tighten bolts, inspect the asphalt and look for anything needing repair on the span that allowed the bridge to reopen June 19.
A section of the bridge collapsed into the river May 23 when it was hit by a truck with an oversize load.
June 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM
A U.S. Senate subcommittee voted Tuesday to create a $500 million fund solely to repair or replace fragile bridges on major highway corridors.
The fund is one piece in the $54 billion 2014 budget, issued by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, which is chaired by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
States would apply for the aid competitively, similar to the TIGER stimulus grants that paid a share of the South Park Bridge and the Mercer Street rebuild. The U.S. goverment already spreads bridge money to state transportation departments, but this new fund effectively shifts more influence to the federal government.
The new fund, called Bridges In Critical Corridors, was inspired by the May 23 collapse of the Skagit River Bridge, which Murray describes as “a stern wake-up call”
to reinvest in aging bridges, particularly along corridors such as I-5 that support commuters, small businesses and large manufacturers.” However, the collapse was caused by an overheight truck — the Skagit bridge had passed recent inspections and didn’t appear on any list of urgent Washington state projects.
At the same time, Murray continued pressing for a rebuild of the I-5 Columbia River crossing between Vancouver and Portland, where one of the two freeway bridges is nearly a century old. Her budget includes $65 million next year toward design.
The federal government has offered about $1.3 billion toward the $3.5 billion project, which would include light rail and a bike-pedestrian path. However, some Washington state lawmakers oppose the bridge as designed and have threatened to block a state gas-tax increase if it includes a proposed $450 million state contribution. Other money would come from Oregon and from driver tolls.
June 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM
The temporary Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River is scheduled to open Wednesday morning.
Gov. Jay Inslee made the announcement today during a visit to the bridge site.
The state isn’t saying the precise time tomorrow morning when the bridge will open.
The speed limit over the bridge will be 40 miles an hour and no oversize or overweight loads will be allowed, but those are only a small portion of the 71,000 vehicles that cross the bridge each day, according to the state.
A permanent fix to the bridge is expected to be done in September. A Spokane company, Max J. Kuney Construction, got the contract for that job with a bid of $6.9 million, according to the state. The temporary bridge cost under $2 million.
The federal government already has approved $15 million for both projects.
A 160-foot portion of the bridge collapsed and fell into the water on May 23 when a semi truck hit overhead beams.
Work crews have been putting together the temporary span for weeks and attaching it to the part of the bridge that was not damaged in the accident.
Some 71,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
When the bridge collapsed, traffic was detoured through Mount Vernon and Burlington.
June 13, 2013 at 10:05 AM
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released $15.6 million from an emergency fund to repair the broken I-5 Skagit River bridge.
The official figure was announced Thursday morning by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene.
The federal aid is no surprise, having been discussed soon after the bridge collapsed on May 23.
“October 1 is our deadline,” for the permanent span to be installed, said Victor Mendez, federal highways administrator, speaking at a hearing on “crumbling infrastructure,” chaired by Murray and Susan Collins, R-Maine. Already, contractors are installing a military-style temporary bridge that is expected to open next week. Speeds will be restricted to 35 mph, said Mendez.
Murray’s hearing was meant to publicize the mediocre condition of U.S. roads and bridges, and shortfalls in federal funding.
It would take some $240 billion to replace every bridge that rated as deficient, said Polly Tottenberg, undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The agency would like to bolster the national highway fund using money saved from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, she said. Collins pointed out, however, that other agencies and interests want the same money.
Video of the hearing is available here, from C-SPAN.
June 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM
UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. | The truck driver whose tall load triggered the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River told investigators he felt crowded by a passing truck and moved toward his right — where the clearance was only 14′ 8″ or about 13 inches shorter than the truck’s load.
The National Transportation Safety Board released a one-page, preliminary report Tuesday about the May 23 incident near Mount Vernon, through a link on the @NTSB Twitter site.
Both the truck, and a pilot car in front, approached the bridge in the right lane, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson in an interview. “He was in the right lane, and I guess he moved over a bit further,” said Knudson.
The truck was driven by William Scott of Alberta-based Mullen Trucking. There was a pilotcar in front, with a warning pole set to measure 16′ 2″, pilot-car driver Tammy DeTray told the NTSB. The pole was on the right side of DeTray’s pickup, said Knudson.
The truck was carrying part of a drilling platform to a storage yard in Vancouver, Wash., according to Mullen Trucking. The NTSB also has said the load was wide, which may have affected what clearances Scott’s truck had as it crossed the bridge.
NTSB’s update adds context to video footage that showed a white truck passing Scott’s high load near the bridge entrance. The update doesn’t reveal why the Mullen truck traveled in the right lane, instead of claiming the safer left lane.
Investigators are still seeking the driver of the white truck for an interview. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Washington State Patrol.
The north span of the four-span freeway bridge fell into the river, taking with it a car and a pickup. Three people sustained minor injuries when they and their vehicles fell into the water. This week, contractors for the state Department of Transportation are installing a temporary span. A permanent replacement is expected to be in place by September.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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