Temporary Skagit River I-5 Bridge Opens — Still No Answer Why State Granted Oversized Truck Permit to Cross
Some legislators still want to know why state officials issued an oversize-load permit for the vehicle that ultimately struck the bridge when they knew the travel plans would take it over the span. While we wait for the answer, officials opened the temporary bridge to traffic today.
The I-5 Skagit River bridge was deemed functionally obsolete by the Washington State Department of Transportation some time ago. That means while structurally sound, the bridge was not designed to handle the volume and size of vehicles passing over it. The bridge had apparently been weakened by previous impacts from oversize loads and large trucks who struck what were thought to be glancing blows on the overhead superstructure and sides.
The Huffington Post reported clear back on May 25 that the truck that struck the bridge leading to its collapse was an oversize load from Alberta, Canada. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that investigated the non-fatal collapse, the truck exceeded the limits of the bridge in both weight and size. However, the driver was granted a travel permit to cross the span.
Driver William Scott, 41, from Canada, said he’s heard from other drivers and sources that bridge — and others — are struck by oversize loads on a regular basis.
Some legislators, including GOP Senator Mike Baumgartner, have called for a comprehensive review of which bridges are deficient, and a more streamlined and stringent monitoring of oversize-load permits.