Green light: Temporary I-5 bridge over Skagit River opens

MOUNT VERNONT — A temporary bridge over the Skagit River opened Wednesday morning on Interstate 5, allowing drivers back to the section of the major thoroughfare that collapsed less than a month ago.

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced southbound lanes of the bridge opened shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday. Northbound lanes opened shortly before 6 a.m.

With the temporary bridge comes a temporary change to the speed limit of 40 miles per hour, and load limits for freight haulers. All oversized or overweight trucks must exit and use the current detour route.

BridgeHowever, state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said as much as 99 percent of traffic will be able to cross the bridge, bringing much needed traffic relief to the area.

“This will dramatically reduce the congestion through Mount Vernon and Burlington, and hopefully bring some much-needed normalcy back to our communities.”

A permanent replacement for the span is inspected to be ready for installation after the Labor Day weekend. Installation of the new span could require a full closure of I-5 for up to two weeks.

This vital corridor between Seattle and the Canadian border carries an average of 71,000 vehicles each day and is the only north-south interstate in Washington state.

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