Major highway bridge collapses in US

2013-05-24 07:27
A portion of the Interstate 5 bridge is submerged after it collapsed into the Skagit River in Washington State, US. (Rick Lund, The Seattle Times, AP)

A portion of the Interstate 5 bridge is submerged after it collapsed into the Skagit River in Washington State, US. (Rick Lund, The Seattle Times, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seattle - A major highway bridge linking Seattle with Canada and the rest of the Pacific Northwest region collapsed on Thursday evening, dumping a handful of vehicles and people into a river, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Authorities said there were no deaths, and three people were rescued and taken to hospitals.

The four-lane Interstate 5 bridge - more than half a century old - collapsed about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Trooper Mark Francis said.

Francis said he did not know what caused the collapse, which came at the start of one of the country's busiest holiday weekends of the year. The collapse came before sundown on a clear day.

'Raggedy' roads

The collapse will raise questions about the nation's infrastructure, which has been a popular issue with President Barack Obama, who earlier this year warned against "raggedy" roads and wants to focus more money on rebuilding to improve the economy.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card gave the country a dismal grade of D-plus overall.

Xavier Grospe, who lives near the river, said he could see three partially submerged cars, and the apparent drivers were sitting either on top of the vehicles or on the edge of open windows.

"It doesn't look like anybody's in danger right now," Grospe said.

Helicopter footage aired by KOMO-TV in Seattle showed one rescue boat leaving the scene with one person strapped into a stretcher. A damaged red car and a damaged pickup truck were visible in the water, which appeared so shallow it barely reached the top of the car's hood.

Kari Ranten, a spokesperson for Skagit Valley Hospital, said two people who were injured in the collapse were en route to the facility. She said another person was being taken to a different area hospital.

A search of the river continued, and a dive team was on the scene.


A man told the local Skagit Valley Herald newspaper he felt a vibration and looked in his rear view mirror to see that the part of bridge he had just crossed was no longer behind him. "I thought something was wrong with my car at first," he said.

The bridge that collapsed on Thursday is not considered structurally deficient but is listed as being "functionally obsolete" - meaning that its design is outdated, according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration.

The bridge was built in 1955 and has a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of 100, according to federal records. That is well below the state-wide average rating of 80, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' latest infrastructure report card said more than a quarter of Washington state's 7 840 bridges were considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.


Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.