A temporary bridge over the Skagit River will reopen Wednesday, restoring Interstate 5 traffic less than a month after the old bridge collapsed.
After the bridge collapsed May 23, Gov. Jay Inslee set a goal of restoring it by mid-June. He went to Mount Vernon on Tuesday to inspect the span and praised workers for completing in days what could have taken months.
The temporary span will carry 99 percent of I-5 traffic, said Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. Oversize and overweight loads will still be detoured.
At 24 feet wide, the 160-foot temporary section is narrower than the old bridge, and traffic will have to slow to 40 mph.
Still, staying on I-5 should be a relief to drivers who have lined up to detour through Mount Vernon and Burlington on the main highway between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
The Max Kuney construction company of Spokane was selected Tuesday for the permanent repair, Peterson said.
Despite the collapse, the 58-year-old bridge will be restored, not replaced. It will still be rated as “functionally obsolete” because it was not designed to handle today’s traffic volume and big trucks. It’s also “fracture critical,” meaning that if a single vital component is compromised, the bridge could fail again.The Associated Press