Rain Delays Skagit River Replacement Bridge Construction

Sep 6, 2013

UPDATE: 9/9/2013, 1:30 p.m. PT

The Washington state Department of Transportatation says the new replacement bridge on I-5 over the Skagit River should be ready to drive on Sunday morning.

WSDOT officials say the weather’s drying out enough to pour concrete on the replacement span that’s being constructed adjacent to the temporary bridge. Recent heavy rains have delayed the pouring operation. After the concrete cures, they’ll slide the new bridge into place.

To make that happen, traffic on Interstate 5 through Mount Vernon will be detoured again this weekend. The detour is expected to last about 12 hours.

The temporary span was installed in June, about a month after an oversize truck hit the bridge, causing a portion to fall into the water. The permanent replacement span should allow traffic to resume driving at freeway speed. It’s had to slow down to 40 mph since the temporary span was installed.

Original Post: 9/06/13, 2:03 p.m. PT

Replacement bridge construction on the I-5 Skagit River bridge has run into a bit of a delay, and Mother Nature is to blame.

Construction workers are almost ready to begin pouring the concrete decks on the span being built adjacent to the temporary bridge, which was erected when a portion of the old Skagit River bridge fell into the river in May.

The problem is that the work must be done in dry weather, and recent heavy rains mean the concrete pouring must be put on hold.

Dave Chesson, a spokesman with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said once the rains stop and the concrete is poured the next step will be sliding the temporary spans out of the way. "Once those are out of the way, they can then jack up the new span and slide it upstream and lower it down," Chesson said.

WSDOT officials said once the new span is lowered into place, they'll be ready to open the new bridge to traffic. Exactly when the bridge will open is unclear at this point.

"The weather has kind of put us off. Once it clears up, we'll have a better idea," said Chesson. "We'll probably know the opening date by Monday."