Permanent fix now in place on Skagit River Bridge

By:  Q13 Fox News – Staff Writer
Source: Q13 Fox News

After working night and day for 66 days, the permanent span is now in place on the Skagit River Bridge on Interstate 5.  The Washington State Department of Transportation spent 19 hours removing the temporary span and replacing it with the 900-ton concrete permanent span.

This has been a massive undertaking and is way ahead of schedule.  The deadline to have the new fix in place was set for October 1st.

Traffic began flowing on the new structure around 2 p.m. on Sunday after several hours of delays because of crews having to cut through the steel supports for the temporary span.

The northern section of the bridge collapsed back on May 23rd after a semi struck several steel supports overhead.  No one was killed.

The bridge also has a new name, The Trooper Sean M. O’Connell, Junior Memorial Bridge.  Trooper O’Connell was working on a detour route near the bridge when his motorcycle collided with a truck.  Senator Maria Cantwell was on hand as the new span opened up, “We mourn the loss of the state trooper who was killing helping to direct traffic in the aftermath of this accident, and we’re proud that the bridge is going to be named in his behalf,” Senator Cantwell said.

Work on the bridge is still ongoing.  WSDOT crews still need to retrofit the overhead bridge supports.  This work will cause some delays and detours.  Most of the work will be done between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.  The work is expected to be complete by mid November.