Washington governor announces I-5 bridge replacement plan

Visualization of the Skagit River Bridge temporary replacement (Photo: WSDOT / Flickr)Visualization of the Skagit River Bridge temporary replacement (Photo: WSDOT / Flickr)

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has announced the state’s plan to temporarily replace the collapsed portion of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River.

A portion of the bridge collapsed Thursday night after an oversize truck struck an overhead steel support.

The temporary four-lane bridge will carry I-5 traffic over the Skagit River at a reduced speed and capacity while the state builds “a safe and durable permanent span adjacent to it.”

Two 24-foot-wide structures will be pre-built and transported to the site, where they will replace the collapsed section of the bridge.

Though the temporary replacement may be in place in a matter of weeks, an exact installation date depends on upcoming inspections to the remainder of the bridge, including underwater structures.

Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said the permanent bridge replacement will not happen for at least several months. WSDOT has stated that it hopes to have the permanent bridge ready for use by early fall.

Washington has already received $1 million in emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal funding will make up 90 percent of the cost for the permanent replacement, which is estimated to cost $15 million.