The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

June 19, 2013

Traffic returns to Washington bridge that collapsed

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Cars and trucks are rolling again across the Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge, restoring the traffic flow on the main route between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.

A temporary span opened Wednesday morning, replacing a section of the bridge that collapsed May 23 when it was struck by a truck with an oversize load.

Workers with the state Department of Transportation and contractors rushed work on the temporary span to relieve drivers who lined up to detour through Mount Vernon and Burlington. The bridge carries 71,000 vehicles a day.

Those vehicles are back on the freeway, but they’ll be slowed at the bridge where the speed is reduced to 40 mph because of narrow lanes on the 160-foot temporary section. It carries two 11-foot lanes in each direction. Oversized and overweight loads will still be detoured.

The temporary bridge pieces were supplied by Acrow Bridge through an emergency contract the Transportation Department signed with Atkinson Construction. The Max Kuney construction company of Spokane was selected Tuesday for a permanent replacement this fall.

The temporary span and replacement cost nearly $18 million. The federal Transportation Department is paying for all but about $1 million of the work.

Despite all the work, the 58-year-old bridge is still 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 can crumple again.

In the accident last month, the driver of the oversized truck felt crowded by another southbound semi-truck on the bridge and the load struck a girder, causing one section of the bridge to fall, a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report said. A final NTSB report on the cause of the bridge failure is likely months away.

A car and pickup truck went into the water and three people were rescued.  Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean O’Connell was killed May 31 when his motorcycle collided with a truck while he was directing detoured traffic in Conway.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Immigration Diverting 2.jpg US border effort sputters as migrants cross again

    A U.S. effort to discourage immigrants’ repeated attempts to enter the country illegally by dropping them back in Mexico hundreds of miles away from where they were caught has been sharply scaled back after producing relatively modest gains.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gay Marriage Colorado 1.jpg Judge: Gay couples can keep marrying in Colorado

    Gay couples can keep getting married in Colorado, even though the state’s gay marriage ban is still in effect, a judge ruled Thursday.

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • US given heads up about newspaper data destruction

    The Obama administration knew in advance that the British government would oversee destruction of a newspaper’s hard drives containing leaked National Security Agency documents last year, newly declassified documents show.

    July 11, 2014

  • Benghazi Stand Down Order.jpg No ’stand down’ order in Benghazi

    The testimony of nine military officers undermines contentions by Republican lawmakers that a “stand-down order” held back military assets that could have saved the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans killed at a diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Houston Suburb.jpg 4 children among 6 killed in Houston-area shooting

    A gunman charged Thursday in the killing of four children and their parents was dressed as a delivery man when he arrived at the suburban Houston home where the family was shot the death, officials said.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Utah Marriage Equality 1.jpg Utah to appeal gay marriage ruling to high court

    Utah is going directly to the nation’s highest court to challenge a federal appeals court ruling that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry, the state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Germany US Spying.jpg Germans probe 2nd spy case reportedly involving US

    German authorities are investigating a second spy case reportedly involving the U.S., a week after the arrest of a German intelligence employee cast a new shadow over relations between the two countries.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Government made $100B in improper payments

    By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them — tax credits to families that didn’t qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary.

    July 9, 2014

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • Soda Tax Fight_Cast.jpg Soda tax’s last stand? Bay Area preps for showdown

    If two of the most progressive U.S. cities don’t pass a tax on sugary drinks, will the idea finally fizzle out?

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo