Mayor had lobbied for new bridge; community stunned after collapse

MOUNT VERNON — When the Skagit River bridge collapsed Thursday night about 7 p.m., a collective sigh of relief went up when it was confirmed no one was killed in the incident. But on Friday, those sighs of relief started to turn into moans of frustration.

There aren’t a lot of driving options to get around the Interstate 5 closure. Roads are clogged and semi’s are precariously navigating their way through the narrow side streets.

One area resident who traveled over the bridge all the time came out to see it for himself.

“A few more minutes closer I could have been on there,” Todd Mitchell said. “It was a pretty surreal experience seeing the bridge last night when I first laid eyes on it.”

While most people are shocked, Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton has spent years lobbying to upgrade the bridge.

“We had wanted to see a newer bridge but not in this manner, obviously,”he said. “It was something that had been talked about and on the planning board for some years — to have additional capacity across I-5.”

“Every time I drive over it you have to watch out for cars slowing down as soon as you hit this rise up here. There`s barely a two-foot shoulder on it.”

“I work out at Janekee Industries and we supply a lot of oversized shipments,” Alan Henderson said. “This is our main route right here, so that’s going to put a big hamper on a lot of businesses here — people aren’ t even going to want to go into because of the nightmare of traffic.”

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