Feds to pay for nearly all Skagit River bridge repairs


by KING 5 News and Associated Press


Posted on June 13, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 6:15 PM

The Basics

  • The $15.6 million in federal funds will cover 100 percent of the temporary bridge and 90 percent of the permanent one.
  • The temporary bridge is expected to be ready on June 20.
  • The head of the Federal Highway Administration wants all repairs completed by Oct. 1

The federal government is giving $15.6 million in emergency funds to help repair the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River. That money will pay for all of the temporary bridge and 90 percent of the permanent replacement.

Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., announced the funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Thursday.

"The federal government is going to allocate the maximum eligible amount of funds for the repair of the Skagit River Bridge, so that's really good news for us in Washington state," Murray said.

A segment of the bridge collapsed May 23 after an oversized truck hit part of the structure.

Victor Menendez, head of the Federal Highway Administration, said he is committed to seeing repairs to the bridge completed by Oct. 1. He said two temporary spans will be in place by June 20, although traffic over the bridges will be limited to 35 mph.

Victor Menendez, head of the Federal Highway Administration, said "innovative construction concepts" will be used to speed repairs to the I-5 bridge. One of those concepts, he said, is "design-build" in which the designer of the bridge repairs is also in charge of construction of the project. The aim is to eliminate the time required to solicit bids from contractors.

Menendez, speaking to reporters after a Senate hearing on the state of the nation's bridges and highways, expressed confidence the bridge will be repaired and reopened by Oct. 1.

"We're on track," he said. "That's hard in our mind.”

$38 million in trade cargo between the U.S. and Canada crosses the Skagit River each day, said Sen. Cantwell.

Although no one was killed or seriously injured when the bridge collapsed, Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean O'Connell was killed in detoured traffic in Conway on May 31 when his motorcycle collided with a truck.