On May 23, 2013, a portion of the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed into the river after being struck by an oversized load, severing western Washington’s main north-south artery that is used by more than 71,000 drivers each day.
Three contractors and less than six months after being struck, the collapsed span was removed from the river; temporary spans, then permanent spans, were placed; and the remaining spans' steel structure retrofitted and reinforced.
WSDOT repaired and upgraded the Skagit River Bridge in three stages:
Stage 1: Emergency repair and installing a temporary replacement bridge
Atkinson Construction, working under an emergency contract for WSDOT, removed the collapsed portion of the bridge and installed two temporary spans that allowed the interstate to reopen to traffic on June 19, 2013.
Stage 2: Building the permanent replacement span
WSDOT selected Max J. Kuney Company to build the $6.87 million permanent span, with Parsons Brinckerhoff leading the design. Contractor crews built the replacement span next to the temporary replacement spans.
To minimize the community impacts of a lengthier I-5 closure, the contractor and designer worked with bridge-mover Omega Morgan and several specialized subcontractors to swap the spans safely in 19 hours. During a carefully choreographed series of activities, crews slid and lowered the new, permanent span for the I-5 Skagit River Bridge into its final location. I-5 reopened to traffic the afternoon of Sept. 15, 2013, with the permanent replacement span.
Stage 3: Raising the remaining spans of the original structure
In addition to replacing the collapsed span, WSDOT contracted with PCL Constructors Inc. to upgrade the remaining spans of the I-5 Skagit River Bridge. The bridge’s arched overhead structural support system were raised to 18 feet, reducing the likelihood they could be struck.
The replacement span and retrofitted original spans reduce the likelihood that an over-height load could strike the overhead supports.
Partnerships & Cooperation
Throughout the process, WSDOT coordinated closely public and private groups and agencies and elected leaders, including: The Office of the Governor, U.S. Senators and Representatives, state legislators, the city of Mount Vernon, the city of Burlington, the city of Anacortes, Skagit County, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Ecology, Department of Natural Resources, Island and Skagit Counties Regional Transportation Planning Organizations, Washington State Trucking Association, Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Association of Skagit County, Skagit Transit and the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation.
I-5 Skagit River Bridge Replacement and Repair:
Cost: $7,728,586; Federal reimbursement: $7,703,092
I-5 Skagit River Bridge – Replacement:
Cost $8,467,627; Federal reimbursement: $7,661,855
I-5 Skagit River Bridge – Bridge Elements Repair:
Cost: $3,648,170; Federal reimbursement: $3,368,691
Total cost: $19,844,383; Total federal reimbursement: $18,733,638
15700 Dayton Avenue North
Seattle WA, 98133
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