Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An I-5 Bridge Over the Skagit River Has Collapsed

Posted by on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 7:25 PM

The news is blasting across Twitter right now:


Looks like both the northbound and the southbound lanes are out. The best person to follow for up-to-the-minute updates on Twitter at the moment is is Lynsi Burton, a reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald. KOMO radio is taking calls from witnesses. You can listen in on their website. One witness says a 50-foot portion of the bridge is gone and rescuers are on the scene. More updates as they come.

UPDATE 7:32 PM: Here's a picture from the scene:


UPDATE 7:34 PM: Based on witness reports and the above photo, it sounds like they're talking about this bridge, which was built in 1955 and which Bridgehunter.com says got a satisfactory rating back in 2010:

Inspection (as of 08/2010)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Functionally obsolete
Sufficiency rating: 57.4 (out of 100)

Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
70,925

UPDATE 7:40 PM: KING 5 has another photograph of the scene. At least two cars are in the water, and all north-south traffic is stopped.

UPDATE 7:48 PM: Holy shit, these pictures are incredible:


UPDATE 7:58 PM: I'm depositing more on-the-scene tweets after the jump, so this post will load in a timely fashion.

UPDATE 8:01 PM: KING 5 is streaming live from the scene right now.

UPDATE 8:22 PM: Marcus Deyerin on Twitter is saying that two people are being extracted from a truck that's in the water at the moment. Authorities are asking people to stop coming to the scene, as they're getting in the way. Also, they're asking residents of Skagit to stay off the phone if they can, as lines are getting tied up.

UPDATE 8:28 PM: Rescuers in boats are at the scene. I've put another photo after the jump.

UPDATE 8:30 PM: On Twitter, Skagit Valley Herald reporter Gina Cole says: "Stretcher with second person pulled from river. Unsure if person is alive, but no applause from onlookers this time when they reached land." KOMO says one person has been pulled from a car and two have been rescued from a truck. Here's a KOMO live feed.

UPDATE 8:35 PM: I've heard from multiple eyewitnesses on different news livestreams that the collapse appeared to happen because a wide load truck struck a beam on the bridge. We're a long way from discovering the reason for all this, though.

UPDATE 8:58 PM: The Seattle P.I. says the bridge was declared "safe and sound" by Washington's Department of Transportation in 2008.

UPDATE 9:05 PM: Brian Rosenthal at the Seattle Times writes:

Rescuers think they have pulled everybody out of the water, but they’re not sure, [Marcus] Deyerin [of the Northwest Washington Incident Management Team] said.

Anybody still in the water will probably not be rescued, officials said.

UPDATE 9:08 PM: And then there's this update, from the Everett Herald:


Governor Inslee and Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson are about to get in a plane and fly to the scene.

UPDATE 9:17 PM: And with the news that there were no fatalities, that's the end of this live-Slog. Any new developments will appear as new posts on Slog tonight.

PICTURES FROM 7:58 PM:




PICTURE FROM 8:28 PM:


 

Comments (93) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Soupytwist 1
What the shit?!
Posted by Soupytwist http://twitter.com/katherinesmith on May 23, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
dotSpec 2
The shit is we don't rebuild infrastructure in this country. See: The one platform everyone in this country should have agreed to 6 years ago.
Posted by dotSpec http://www.spec907.net on May 23, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
3
And the state legislature still would rather spend money on new highways and sprawl rather than fix bridges and repair roads.
Posted by motown philly on May 23, 2013 at 7:37 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 4
Oh shi...

Infrastructure fails why we spend our money on foreign wars, social entitlements and bank bailouts.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on May 23, 2013 at 7:37 PM · Report this
5
Glenn Beck is blaming Gay Atheist Muslims from Kenya.
Posted by Anastasia Beaverhausen on May 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM · Report this
6

Appraisal: Functionally obsolete

And they did what about it....
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 23, 2013 at 7:42 PM · Report this
Fnarf 7
I wonder how many cars that bridge was expected to carry when it was built in 1955. The population up that way, especially in Snohomish just to the south, is probably ten times what it was then. For comparison, that 70,000 a day is about half that much larger bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in 2007.

I hope none of those people are hurt bad. I fear for the worst.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 23, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
sperifera 8
Thank you TimFuckingEyman for selling a snake oil potion to the people. We don't need to pay taxes to maintain our highways, nahhhhh...
Posted by sperifera on May 23, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 9
@5: So is #4!
Posted by undead ayn rand on May 23, 2013 at 7:54 PM · Report this
10
Tax cut!
Posted by ProstSeattle on May 23, 2013 at 7:55 PM · Report this
11
Who is going to choreagraph the Rodney Tom dance He'll have to do?

Ball is in your court Republicans.
Posted by ProstSeattle on May 23, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
12
@11 he's been blocking action to fix our vulnerable roads and bridge all session long so that he can prevent a tax increase. He and his right-wing allies have a lot to answer for. Same with Tim Eyman.
Posted by motown philly on May 23, 2013 at 8:01 PM · Report this
13

70,925 average daily traffic is 3x what LINK gets.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 23, 2013 at 8:02 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
Not on the list of structurally deficient bridges

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/6A5…

It is "Somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is".

http://www.nationalbridges.com/index.php…

Even if you you think that if the political philosophy you are in love with ruled all and therefore all sorts of money were available to fix our collapsing bridges, this bridge wasn't even on the list. You'd have fixed a hell of a lot of other bridges with money you got from taxes you want raised or pork waste you want cut before you'd have ever fixed this bridge. You probably wouldn't have gotten around to fixing this one for many years.

So. Why did this one fall down?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on May 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@13, and Wilt Chamberlain was a foot taller than you, Captain Irrelevant. WHY SO DUMB? WHY?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 16
So, NOW we can put a toll on an Interstate bridge, right?

Fucking Hell, I'm driving to Vancouver BC tomorrow. This should be interesting.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on May 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM · Report this
17
@14 that's why we need to be spending money to repair all these old bridges. Too much risk to proceed slowly.
Posted by motown philly on May 23, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
Fnarf 18
@14, that's a good question. Design? Or structural flaw, bad metal, bad bolts, fatigue, rust, whatever?

How long before kooks blame terrorists?
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 23, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 19
We need to cut taxes for the rich. Then they will hire more people who will drive more and supply gas taxes (which, by the way the Republican governor of Virginia wants to do away with) and then the gas taxes can be used to pay for more roads.

See? Easy!
Posted by passionate_jus on May 23, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 20
our tax structure has born fruit. enjoy the summer - it won't have BC, B-ham or the N Cascades in it.
Posted by Max Solomon on May 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
21
#15

When someone just doesn't get the analogy and blasts me with some kind of misdirected rage, the hard part is having to think...do I try and argue? Do I hope they go away and stew in their own lack of comprehension in some other venue? More typically, someone else steps in and explains it to them in small words. I thank the world, that there are those people...or I would have passed out from exhaustion a long time ago.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
22
@16: Good luck.

This is going to be a hell of a holiday weekend for anyone driving north.
Posted by MLM on May 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
23
@6: I'm not an expert, but after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, we got to see the bridge inspection reports on all the bridges in the state. The scores and terms need to be understood in context. FWIW, "functionally obsolete" has a particular meaning when engineers are describing a bridge -- it doesn't mean that the bridge is about to collapse.
Posted by midwaypete on May 23, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Paul Constant 24
@18: We at The Stranger have not yet gotten our first "THIS IS CLEARLY A FALSE FLAG ATTACK BLAME OBUMMER AND MOOCHELLE LOOK AT THE PIXELS OF THE PHOTO THAT BRIDGE WAS BOMBED" e-mail about this bridge collapse. I'm a little disappointed in the crazies for not jumping on this within the first hour.
Posted by Paul Constant http://https://twitter.com/paulconstant on May 23, 2013 at 8:12 PM · Report this
25
As a truck driver, this is one of my biggest fears. When I cross an obviously decades old bridge, especially one with a posted weight limit that I'm right up against, that moreover I'm asked to cross slowly, it can be a little frightening.

There are several such bridges on routes I travel fairly often. I tell you, infrastructure repair is a major reason I refuse to vote republican.
Posted by Corydon on May 23, 2013 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Elvis 26
If the legislature uses this to justify putting desperately needed transit and education funding towards highway infrastructure in lieu of pulling our tax structure out of the eyman-fueled libertarian wet dream that we have now--then, well, fuck. Just fuck. Just fuck it all to hell.
Posted by Elvis on May 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 28
@18- Not terrorists, Obama.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on May 23, 2013 at 8:19 PM · Report this
29
I'm confused why so many slog commenters think traffic is going to be horrible. I thought removing freeways and putting cars on surface streets instead had no measurable impact on traffic.
Posted by Bax on May 23, 2013 at 8:24 PM · Report this
Fnarf 30
@21, hurry up and pass, then. Anything to get you to stop commenting here.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 31
Thanks Tim Eyman.
Posted by Gern Blanston on May 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 33
@29

You're an idiot troll.

Please explain how we are supposed to pay for rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure let alone for things like high speed rail?

If we are going to compete with China and the EU we are going to need to make our infrastructure top notch. That requires raising taxes, especially on the rich and on corporations.

Only an idiot would want us to build even more roads while ignoring transit and high speed rail.

End of story.
Posted by passionate_jus on May 23, 2013 at 8:32 PM · Report this
fletc3her 36
The National Bridge Inventory Database describes it as "Somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is".

When did America lose its fucking pride? We use to strive to have the best. Now we argue we can't even afford to fix rusting bridges.
Posted by fletc3her on May 23, 2013 at 8:37 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 37
@29: 2 alternate bridges: 536 & riverside dr. neither are designed to put and additional 70K vehicles through every day.

there's not a grid to disperse into, funny guy.
Posted by Max Solomon on May 23, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
fletc3her 39
I was up there for the Tulip Festival and that slammed the roads. The river creates bottlenecks since there are only so many bridges. Traffic was backing up several blocks as everyone tried to figure out how to best get in and out of town. The traffic situation is going to be ugly.

I wonder how long it takes to replace a bridge like that?
Posted by fletc3her on May 23, 2013 at 8:43 PM · Report this
MirrorMan 40
It's because the Boy Scouts let gays in. God hates gays so much, he'll blast a bridge as punishment....
Posted by MirrorMan on May 23, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
42
If it was taken down by a wide load truck accident, then it is time to ban semis. The semi traffic is what beats the roads and bridges apart...There are many times greater semi traffic than anticipated when the bridge was built. Build rail systems.....
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on May 23, 2013 at 8:48 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 43
Man, just about every mental defective offensive Slog troll is out tonight. The only ones missing are the guy that rails longingly every time Dan posts anything pro-gay about how much the gays are this that and the other thing, and the guy that for any crime has to go on at length about the Black Menace Of Black People Being Black.

Come on guys, don't leave us hanging. Tell us all about how gay sex and/or Blackness caused this tragedy.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on May 23, 2013 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 44
And this bridge, as Paul noted, wasn't a structural concern. Odds are this is just a terrible accident, but the NTSB will let us know soon enough as to the cause.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on May 23, 2013 at 8:51 PM · Report this
45
You can see the rust all over the areas that broke and bent. How could they say this bridge was safe when it was rusted almost completely through in areas?
Posted by voely on May 23, 2013 at 8:55 PM · Report this
passionate_jus 46
@36

We were the country that put men on the moon!

Now we don't even have a functioning space program.

WTF!
Posted by passionate_jus on May 23, 2013 at 8:55 PM · Report this
MirrorMan 48
I was being facetious. Some wingnut is going to say it by morning. I'd bet money on it.
Posted by MirrorMan on May 23, 2013 at 8:56 PM · Report this
50
KING 5 is reporting an over-sized load crossed the bridge right before the collapse.
Posted by Mike in Olympia on May 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 51
This is pretty much what I think any time I pass over the Deception Pass bridge. That thing is older than balls - I'm fairly certain Asahel Curtis photographed it when it was built.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm http://peregrinari.tumblr.com/ on May 23, 2013 at 9:02 PM · Report this
53
Eyewitness confirming truck struck this bridge. BTW - the definition of "fuctionally obsolete" is a structure that does not have current standards for lane width and cannot accommodate typical oversized loads.
Posted by nullbull on May 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM · Report this
54
There was some guy on KOMO who claimed to have been on the bridge right before it collapsed, saying that he passed the oversized load. The guy then said he saw the oversized load strike the bridge. The KOMO caller didn't sound like a total whack job or anything either, he sounded pretty rational.

It's as logical an explanation for a collapse as any, but it'll obviously be awhile before WSP and WSDOT figure out what happened. I just hope nobody got killed.
Posted by Bax on May 23, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 55
Glenn Beck is reporting that a gay, atheist Eagle Scout was driving that truck.
Posted by Gern Blanston on May 23, 2013 at 9:12 PM · Report this
56
But a truck hitting a girder would not have brought the bridge down if it was in good condition.
Posted by voely on May 23, 2013 at 9:13 PM · Report this
58
@33 -- of course, I absolutely support raising taxes for roads and transit, and even implementing tolls everywhere. I wish we had the sort of transit system around here that many other cities have (DC, SF, Chicago, NYC, etc.). But thanks for jumping to conclusions.
Posted by Bax on May 23, 2013 at 9:15 PM · Report this
59
@56 -- not true. You collide with something in the right spot, it'll come down.
Posted by Bax on May 23, 2013 at 9:16 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 60
I am relieved to hear that nobody has died. I do hope everyone will be able to recover from whatever injuries may have been sustained as well as the loss of their vehicles.
'
58,

I support infrastructure renewal as well. Whatever happened to that high-speed rail corridor the chattering classes couldn't shut up about back in 2008? Weren't we supposed to get one running between Blaine and Portland?
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 23, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this
61
Despite all the horrors, I think we should sit back, breathe deep, hug our kids a little tighter, and thank Jesus that the rich still have their tax cuts.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 23, 2013 at 9:21 PM · Report this
fletc3her 62
I think the notion of "crumbling infrastructure" is that we are not replacing structures when they are still within their operational lifetime, but are instead waiting until the last possible moment to do anything.

It's certainly probably that a heavy truck making contact with the bridge precipitated its collapse. However, would a newer bridge have collapsed under the same circumstances? Would a bridge with proper shoulders even have been in danger?

We may find it was a criminally heavy load and the driver collided with the bridge in just the right way to bring it down. Maybe any bridge would have collapsed under these circumstances. But, I find it hard to believe the age and condition of the bridge didn't play a part.
Posted by fletc3her on May 23, 2013 at 9:22 PM · Report this
64
#45 that's not rust, that's the primer under the paint.the paint peeled off under the stress of the collapse.
Posted by DFK on May 23, 2013 at 9:27 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 65
@56: hate to agree with Bax, but the WTC came down because it was hit the right way, not because it was flawed.
Posted by Max Solomon on May 23, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 67
Reading these comments, I'm left wondering why no one is upset about the collapse of grammar.
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on May 23, 2013 at 9:35 PM · Report this
striatic 68
@62 "But, I find it hard to believe the age and condition of the bridge didn't play a part."

only speculating, but i think the design of the bridge was at least partially at fault.

for one, the witness who reporter the strike said that had the oversized vehicle been in the fast lane, it wouldn't have struck the bridge.

this is because the height varies from lane to lane based on the arch over the roadway.

a more uniform clearance might have allowed to more accurate planning bringing through oversized loads.

Posted by striatic on May 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 69
Is America becoming a failed "state" because it is busy being policeman to the world? Building schools, bridges, roads, and hospitals in Afghanistan and else where while at home they are falling apart, being blown apart by winds, or being used way past their shelf life. Oh but that war on Terror must go on.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on May 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
striatic 71
KIRO 7 now confirms that everyone has survived.

incredible news.
Posted by striatic on May 23, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
sperifera 72
@42 - Just to be clear, most of the semis you see on the roads are delivering locally, so unless you plan to put a rail stub into every warehouse that gets delivered containers, your "Build rail" comment is pretty pointless. Intermodal transportation is required for practically all containers.
Posted by sperifera on May 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM · Report this
73
#68 Not really, the trussed arch is a fundamental hallmark of small bridge design. What was at fault is that the truck got too close to the flag car. Every oversized load has to have a car driving in front of it with a post up to the height of the load. If the post hits something, it means the truck can't clear, and the truck has to stop. The post hit the girder, but the truck failed to stop, and as the post predicted, the load struck the girder. This was a pretty straightforward case of negligence.
Posted by DFK on May 23, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
striatic 75
@73 - "Not really, the trussed arch is a fundamental hallmark of small bridge design."

maybe this crossing required something other than a small bridge.

i'm not saying that the bridge design was at fault *legally*. the actual clearance even at the lowest point should have been anticipated after the advance car hit it with enough distance to stop.

but a bridge taking that much traffic over it each day should be built so that even the worst negligence won't destroy it, because that kind of negligence is inevitable given enough time and the consequences far too dangerous to not design around it.
Posted by striatic on May 23, 2013 at 10:03 PM · Report this
76
@56: many truss bridges are built such that if part of the truss fails, additional parts will start to fail, leading to a total collapse.

If you want to learn more, read about the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Brid…
Posted by midwaypete on May 23, 2013 at 10:04 PM · Report this
lauramae 77
While it seems clear to many that it was a truck who hit a girder, why didn't it hit the others as it traveled South on the Bridge?
Posted by lauramae on May 23, 2013 at 10:07 PM · Report this
striatic 78
@77 "While it seems clear to many that it was a truck who hit a girder, why didn't it hit the others as it traveled South on the Bridge?"

conceivably after seeing the pilot car hit the railing, it began the process of changing lanes over to the area were the arch is higher.

according to the eyewitness, so long as they were in that lane and not the other, there would be enough clearance for their load.

so they could have switched lanes in response or in in advance of hitting the truss and continued safely along the length of the bridge.
Posted by striatic on May 23, 2013 at 10:13 PM · Report this
79

I-5 #SkagitBridge collapse view from I-5 (Rick Lund /ST) twitter.com/SeaTimesPhoto/

— Seattle Times Photo (@SeaTimesPhoto) May 24, 2013

Posted by elaineinballard on May 23, 2013 at 10:14 PM · Report this
80
Damn, I don't know how to embed a tweet.
https://twitter.com/SeaTimesPhoto/status…
Posted by elaineinballard on May 23, 2013 at 10:15 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 82
End of live slog at 9 when no fatalities declared? What a bunch of mainstream ghouls LSloggers have apparently become. Nobody dead, so we're done reporting.
Posted by Just Jeff on May 23, 2013 at 10:29 PM · Report this
Just Jeff 83
And with the news that there were no fatalities, that's the end of this live-Slog.

Douchebags
Posted by Just Jeff on May 23, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
85
@75 Actually, as far as bridge traffic goes, the Skagit River Bridge was pretty middle of the road. It only serviced 70,000 vehicles a day. For such a short distance, over a shallow river, with that kind of AADT, an arched truss bridge is perfectly acceptable.

You never design around the worst case scenario. It's far too expensive, particularly for unusual impact damage. You design to expected load, and probable scenarios. If you've got an oddball load, the onus is on the driver to ensure that it meets the size and weight restrictions along the route. This driver failed to do that. No matter how big a load you design a structure to handle, eventually some idiot will come along and try to squeeze a load by that's excessively large. Even at its lowest point, the Skagit River Bridge was tall enough that it didn't require height warnings to be posted. So that meant that the load was taller than 13.5'. He was severely restricted in routes that he could take, and the fact that he even attempted to cross that bridge meant that he was negligent.

Could they have stripped out the arched truss bridge and replaced it with a sexy cantilever cable-stayed bridge with no height limit? Sure. but it would have cost north of half a billion dollars, and you could build an arched truss bridge for around 1/10 of that.
Posted by DFK on May 23, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
delirian 86
@75: What do you want to do? Build bridges out of titanium? If you have limited highway funds you can either prioritize and get decent infrastructure that can break when hit by a large truck or you can build one indestructible bridge every year while everything else crumbles. Bridges, like every other engineered device, are designed to take loads within their tolerances. Signs and regulation of trucks are the tools that are used to ensure people operate on these bridges within the proper tolerances.

Btw, are you an engineer or have you ever worked as an engineer (and just for your info, I have)? If not, then stfu (and no, a software engineer is not a real engineer). A lay person giving their opinion on the design of bridges is like a lay person giving their opinion on how to properly perform heart surgery. Without knowledge, your opinion is useless.
Posted by delirian on May 23, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
87
It doesn't take much movement to knock a bridge span off the rockers that it sits on. Each span is independent is this sort of bridge and a longitudinal movement of about a foot will drop the span. Take a look at the bottom of a bridge. The deck is just sitting on a sort of rocker which allows expansion movement. Only the weight holds it in place... I have helped bjuild a few..;-D
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on May 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM · Report this
Simone 88
I'm glad I wasn't there. Though I wish I was there to take photos.

I was about to take a trip up north late this afternoon to Sarvey Wildlife but instead went to PAWS in Lynnwood. Was going to take a found Dove (someone's escaped pet) to get looked at.

Tomorrow will ask around the neighbourhood and see if anyone had lost a bird.
Posted by Simone on May 23, 2013 at 11:01 PM · Report this
89
In stead of a bridge, they all need a Seattle apartment.

Seattle apartment.

Seattle apartment.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM · Report this
beatgrl 90
That bridge is super narrow and has always been freaky to cross, and thankfully I will never have to cross it again. The temporary separation of the lands north of the Skagit could be fun for a while.
Posted by beatgrl on May 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM · Report this
Fnarf 91
@83, Slog is not a 24/7 breaking news facility. There are plenty of those for you to choose from. There's no second shift coming on at Slog, and Paul was working on his thirteenth hour of today. I dunno what you did today, but I think he did his bit.

@75, there are thousands of almost identical "Warren truss" bridges in the US -- Bridgehunter.com lists 3,961 of them, and almost 24,000 truss bridges of all types. It's a perfectly good type of bridge.

As for "maybe this crossing required something other than a small bridge", yes, that's what "functionally obsolete" means. It was built in 1955, when the population of Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish was a fraction of what it is now. In fact, the existence of this bridge is what allowed that population to grow; there's no sprawl if there's no way to get there. If they were building it from scratch today (as they shortly will be), they'd build it bigger, to more easily handle the greater number of vehicles. But you can't just swap out every bridge that gets outgrown, not with all the money in the world. If you were making a list of bridges to replace, this one would have been far down the list, well after all the many, many "about to fall down of its own accord" ones.

Ironically, the new, bigger bridge is sure to suck more traffic onto itself and increase sprawl up there even further, leading to fewer and fewer farms and fewer and fewer wetlands. Say hello to ten thousand shitty new houses with floody basements that Supreme Ruler of the Universe still won't be able to afford.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 23, 2013 at 11:19 PM · Report this
92
#91

I look forward to bring priced out of new markets worldwide.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 23, 2013 at 11:31 PM · Report this
rob! 94
I hadn't seen any images or description of the oversize-load semi truck said to have struck the bridge superstructure. It didn't seem to have ended up in the river with the SUV and pickup-trailer combo, and I wondered if it had continued south, with the driver perhaps unaware of the collapse or unwilling to be questioned. But it's buried in the photo gallery of the Seattle Times story, parked just south of the bridge; you can see the leading pilot vehicle parked ahead of it:

http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/zoom/html/…

It's interesting that the transported load, an open steel box, doesn't show major deformation. From the ST story:
The bridge is classified as a “fracture critical” bridge by the National Bridge Inventory.

That means one major structural part can ruin the entire bridge, as compared with a bridge that has redundant features that allow one member to fail without destroying the entire structure.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on May 24, 2013 at 2:40 AM · Report this
96
@95 As Seattle voters seem to be the only voters in the entire state willing to spend money on anything at all, perhaps you should be questioning the rest of the state's voters. Also, maybe you should learn the difference between state-funded and city-funded projects.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on May 24, 2013 at 3:34 AM · Report this
97
@84 - multiply $2.6 billion by at least 10, and then you're getting close to what it would cost to completely rebuild I-5 all the way through King County. Remember, 5 is basically one long bridge from Boeing Field to Northgate. Replacing that isn't cheap. I'm all for it, but I'm also all for raising taxes and tolling the road to pay for it, which no doubt you'd be opposed to.
Posted by Bax on May 24, 2013 at 6:31 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 98
In 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake struck. It was a 6.8, which means it was slightly weaker than the quake that hit Haiti in 2010 in terms of magnitude.

Yet nobody died.And nobody died when this bridge collapsed either.

There has to be a reason why this is so. How could an earthquake of similar (albeit slightly lower) magnitude to one that killed 316,00 people kill no-one? How could a bridge collapse like this which might have terminated so many lives leave all affected alive?

The answer I would propose to you is that our infrastructure was capable of withstanding the impact in both cases. Because we invested the proper amount of funds into bridges and roads and buildings in WA state, nobody has died in either case.

If we fail to maintain our infrastructure-if we, in hopes of savinga it here, cutting a bit there, stop adequately funding Public Works projects in our area-we coudl share the same fate as those unfortunates who happened to have the bad luck to live in a place which could not adequately fund their infrastructure.

Haiti has an excuse-they're poor. They cannot afford quality roads and bridges. But we can. And if we are so pennywise but dollar foolish to cut the state's budget toward maintaining our infrastructure, then someday we might get to know what the horror of an unmitigated 6.8 earthquake or bridge collapse can be like.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on May 24, 2013 at 6:44 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 100
@ 98, the Nisqually Quake also occurred 30 miles under the surface, and had zero aftershocks. But yes, the wealthiest country in the world has better infrastructure than the Western Hemisphere's poorest.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 24, 2013 at 6:57 AM · Report this
fletc3her 102
One thing I found amusing is that within an hour of the accident almost every major news site listed the story as breaking news. ABC,BBC, CBS, NBC, Fox, even HuffPost.

But, ol' CNN held onto the Trayvon Martin story and relegated the bridge collapse to a tiny link. No breaking news. No photo. They've corrected the situation this morning, but it was rather sad to see such a major story take a backseat to their scandalmongering.
Posted by fletc3her on May 24, 2013 at 7:40 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 103
@90 If THAT bridge scares you, maybe you're wrapped too tight for highway driving.

Lands to the north are not "separated." My initial panic to the contrary, there's a street bridge right next to I-5 that the WSDOT website shows as the detour route. It connects two exits that are only a mile apart. On the webcam, it looks like traffic is moving pretty well on the off-ramp, so I'll bet they have a full-time crew waving vehicles through all the intersections. Admittedly, it's early AM and will get messier as traffic rises. Naively, I'm gonna bet on an extra half-hour to get through there.

There's also another route through Mount Vernon, Highway 9 (pretty indirect), and Fir Island Road to Best Road to Bow Hill Road, which is bit of a scenic detour, but that will be my choice. More delay stopping for gargantuan ice cream cones at Snow Goose Produce!
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on May 24, 2013 at 7:49 AM · Report this
striatic 105
@85 "No matter how big a load you design a structure to handle, eventually some idiot will come along and try to squeeze a load by that's excessively large."

that's the entire point.

eventually this was going to happen. there are worst case scenarios you shouldn't plan for because they probably will never happen, but this scenario was eventually going to happen.

"Could they have stripped out the arched truss bridge and replaced it with a sexy cantilever cable-stayed bridge with no height limit? Sure. but it would have cost north of half a billion dollars, and you could build an arched truss bridge for around 1/10 of that."

there's was a new four lane bridge [plus shouldera] built within spitting distance that doesn't have any of the exposed structural supports of the I-5 bridge. having the bridge be cable stayed or built out of titanium is not the issue. it is the exposed structural supports that are going to get hit eventually. either make an effort reduce the failure mode of such *inevitable* events or not expose the structural supports like on the Riverside Dr./Burlington Blvd. bridge.
Posted by striatic on May 24, 2013 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 107
@ 105, it took nearly 60 years for this scenario to pan out. Would it really have been wise to spend ten times what they did on this bridge just to prevent this day from coming? Isn't some risk acceptable?
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 24, 2013 at 8:23 AM · Report this
striatic 109
@107 "it took nearly 60 years for this scenario to pan out."

as the traffic increases the event becomes more and more likely.

"Would it really have been wise to spend ten times what they did on this bridge just to prevent this day from coming?"

i don't know about ten times but the bridge was labeled functionally obsolete for a reason. you wouldn't build this bridge like this if you built it today. having up to task infrastructure is worth the expense, and not just for safety reasons. certainly it was worth building a new bridge for local traffic.
Posted by striatic on May 24, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
striatic 110
or maybe all that was needed to avoid this was a "clearance bar" in advance of the bridge.
Posted by striatic on May 24, 2013 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 111
@ 109/110, "as the traffic increases the event becomes more and more likely."

Except that this wasn't caused by traffic. If the bridge had collapsed under the weight of excessive traffic, that would be true, but it was a heavy load truck and it could as likely have done this in 1960.

Yes, it was functionally obsolete. It was built in the 1950s - virtually everything from that time can be labelled as such. I wouldn't be surprised if the Aurora Bridge, at 25 years older than this one, is also functionally obsolete.

Here's the thing - you have to keep using old bridges (as long as they're safe and not bottlenecking traffic) because you don't have unlimited funds. Even if you didn't have Tim Eyman restricting your ability to raise funds, your resources would still be restricted and you would have this bridge not appearing on any list of infrastructure to replace, meaning that nothing would have prevented this accident.

I'd be extremely surprised if there were no sign saying what the clearance was.
Posted by Matt from Denver on May 24, 2013 at 9:19 AM · Report this
striatic 112
"I'd be extremely surprised if there were no sign saying what the clearance was."

there was no sign because it was above the height necessary to declare the height.

some idiot is eventually going to neglect the sign or neglect to accurately ascertain their own height. a clearance bar is un-ignorable though.
Posted by striatic on May 24, 2013 at 9:23 AM · Report this
SPG 113
@111 quoth: "I wouldn't be surprised if the Aurora Bridge, at 25 years older than this one, is also functionally obsolete."

It's actually the same type of design as the Minnesota bridge that collapsed a few years ago, so design and capability wise it is functionally obsolete. Not only that, but the lane width is under the norm and there is no shoulder whatsoever.
Posted by SPG on May 24, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
114
It appears several of you don't know what NBI's "functionally obsolete" label means. "Functionally obsolete" means the bridge's design is outdated, e.g. it doesn't have enough lanes and cannot be expanded, modern bridges are no longer built in its fashion, or the shoulders leading up to the span are not up to modern standards. It can still be structurally sound and safely usable while being "functionally obsolete".

A bridge that is "structurally deficient", however, is at risk of breaking down. Many of you are mistaking "functionally obsolete" for "structurally deficient".
Posted by El Steven http://misterstevengomez.com on May 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 116
Told you not to listen to Eyman.

But you decided to give the seed corn (taxes) to millionaires instead.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
117
Is it just me, or does 14.6 feet seem like really low vertical clearance for an Interstate freeway? You know, like for for big commercial trucks and mobile ballistic missle launchers?
Posted by PCM on May 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.
Advertisement

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy