Skagit County bridge collapse has major economic implications

Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a plan to have temporary replacement spans installed across Skagit River along Interstate 5 within the next several weeks, but local economic experts predict difficult times might be ahead for farmers, business owners and anyone else who relies on highway freight traffic along the north-south corridor in western Washington.

Crews began removing wreckage from the bridge in Skagit County on Monday, May 27. The bridge collapsed on Thursday, May 23, when a tall truck carrying drill equipment struck several overhead trusses, sparking a chain reaction within the bridge’s structure that caused its deck to tumble into the river, taking with it several vehicles containing people. No fatalities were reported, however.

Traffic on I-5 at the bridge has been completely blocked off and re-routed to nearby surface streets since the night of the accident, as state officials and engineers assess future steps of action.

While it might still be too early to tell what the full economic impact of the highway’s closure will be over the next several months, due to the importance of I-5 as a trade and commerce artery, the event could have a drastic effect in the the region’s economy.

Read Associated Press coverage of this development from our partners at The Daily Herald in Everett.

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