Friday, May 24, 2013

This Morning I Woke Up To Shocking Bridge Collapse News From Washington

Spencer Jack's Dad With Collapsed I-5 Bridge
This morning when I woke up my computer, among the incoming email I saw two from Spencer Jack's dad, that being my nephew Jason, and one from Connie D, that being the Fort Worth Connie D, not the Tacoma version.

The subject line in the Connie D email was "Did you see this?" I clicked on the link in the email and was more than a little surprised by what I saw.

But the details were a bit sketchy (MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) Authorities say there were no fatalities when an Interstate 5 bridge over a river north of Seattle collapsed. The Thursday evening bridge failure dumped vehicles and people into the water), so I was not totally sure exactly what I was looking at.

Go Skagit On-Line's Bridge Collapse on I-5 Info

There are several bridges over rivers on Interstate 5 north of Seattle. The MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) part of the article had me thinking this could not possibly be the I-5 bridge between Mount Vernon and Burlington. Could it?

Then I opened Spencer Jack's dad's email to see the picture above to realize it was the I-5 bridge in my old hometowns of Mount Vernon and Burlington that collapsed.

I remember when that bridge was built. If that bridge is old enough to have such a failure, for no apparent reason, like an earthquake, well, America, methinks our infrastructure really is in trouble.

UPDATE: I later learned the bridge collapse was caused by a truck with too wide a load hitting the bridge trusses, which was a known vulnerability of an outdated bridge design.

Losing the I-5 bridge is going to make for some Skagit Valley traffic nightmares til it gets fixed. In Mount Vernon there are now only two bridges across the river, with one taking you to West Mount Vernon, with a long detour to get yourself back to I-5.

The other remaining bridge across the river in Mount Vernon is a short distance to the east of I-5, with it being a new bridge built this century to replace the old bridge on Highway 99, that being the highway that I-5 replaced. If I remember right, the new Highway 99 bridge is 4 lanes wide. I think I've only been over it once.

Fort Worth locals reading this, whose only river they've ever seen is named Trinity, in the pictures you are looking at a full size river, not a big-sized creek. At the location where the bridge collapsed the Skagit River is contained by dikes that are not nearly as massive as the levees that keep the Trinity River from going over its banks as it passes past downtown Fort Worth.

You can safely eat any fish you catch in the Skagit River. But, apparently, you do not want to be standing in the shade of a Skagit River bridge when you do your fishing.

UPDATE: After blogging this morning I checked my phone to see that last night I had voice mails about the bridge collapse, including one from Spencer Jack's dad and one from my mom telling me to turn on CNN.

Then I checked in on Facebook to see what some of my friends up in the Skagit Valley had to say about the I-5 debacle...

Martin is the first husband of one of my best friends from high school. Martin is a Skagit Valley farmer and best selling author. Martin is a bit profane, so please excuse his extremely foul language...

And then there was this first hand account of the Skagit Valley's bridge collapse traffic woes from one of my best friends from high school, Bev....

And this from one of my friends from high school, Bruce....

To those reading this in Texas who are unfamiliar with such things, in the photo above, that bluish item under the clouds, in the background, is known as a mountain. Well, actually, a Cascade Mountains foothill. If I remember right this particular "hill" is called Cultus Mountain.

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