Crews on track to reopen I-5 bridge in mid-June

Published on Thu, Jun 13, 2013
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Washington State Department of Transportation crews worked through the weekend making repairs, pouring concrete bridge supports and finishing construction of the steel framework on the first of two temporary bridge spans designed to bridge the gap in the I-5 Skagit River Bridge.

On June 10, crews pushed the first of two temporary sections across the gap between the north and south sides of the Skagit River Bridge. They will spend the next several days positioning the span over the new concrete supports.

With the new bridge supports complete, and the first span of temporary bridge over the Skagit River, crews now have room to begin work building the second temporary span.

Crews expect to work around the clock as much as possible until the temporary span is complete. WSDOT plans to finish construction on the temporary replacement and reopen I-5 to traffic sometime next week.

“Getting to this point hasn’t been easy,” said Jay Drye, WSDOT assistant regional administrator. “Each step of removing and replacing the damaged bridge span has to be carefully choreographed to maximize efficiency, speed and safety.”

To move the first temporary span into place, crews first had to remove the fallen span from the fast-flowing Skagit River, create new concrete pedestals to support the temporary bridge and make repairs to the remaining sections of the original bridge.

“It’s a lot like building a house,” said Drye. “There is no point having the roofer on your construction site if the foundation hasn’t been poured yet. Now we’ve reached the point where we can really pick up the pace.”

A portion of the I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River near Mount Vernon on May 23, after a semi truck struck critical steel supports. This vital corridor carries more than 70,000 vehicles each day and is the only north-south interstate in Washington state.

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