Cantwell Visits Site of I-5 Skagit River Bridge Collapse

Cantwell: ‘The question now is to see how we can minimize the economic impact to the state of Washington’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) visited the site of the Interstate 5 bridge collapse today in Skagit County to view the damage and speak with local, state and federal officials.

A picture is available of Cantwell touring the bridge site with Daryl Hamburg of Skagit County Dike District 17 here.

Cantwell released the following statement today regarding the bridge collapse:

“Everybody in Washington state -- and certainly in Skagit County -- knows we are a hub of trade and commerce between U.S. and Canada. Every day, trucks carry around $38 million of U.S.-Canada trade cargo across the Skagit River on the I-5 corridor. That means $13.9 billion in U.S.-Canada trade flows through this critical corridor every year – the majority of it over the I-5 Skagit River bridge.

“So, the question everybody is working hard on now is to see how can we minimize the economic impact to the state of Washington.  When I-5 in Lewis County was closed for four days in 2007, it cost us $47 million. When I-90 was closed in 2008 because of the snow impact, it cost our state $28 million dollars.  That’s why everybody is working around the clock to come up with the best plan to mitigate those circumstances and to get the best plan to replace the span over I-5 as soon as possible.

“Over the last 24 hours, my staff and I have been on the phone multiple times with Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Deputy Secretary John Porcari. I want to thank the USDOT for working with Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson and others on the planning and evaluation of the current structure, its design and what the alternatives are for replacing it.  I also want to thank the Governor for his incredible leadership and his team, working around the clock to address this situation. And thank you to Deborah Hersman and her team of investigators from the NTSB for traveling out to Washington state.

“This was a tragic accident in the collapse of this infrastructure. But there certainly wasn’t a collapse of our first responders; they did an incredible job. To our State Patrol, thank you very much for your leadership and thank you to all the local leaders in the community.”