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Skagit River bridge girders have arrived

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SEATTLE — A long journey for eight girders is coming to an end, as phase 2 begins to build the permanent replacement for the Skagit River bridge span. The Washington State Department of Transportation says construction crews began placing eight enormous concrete girders that will support the new roadway today.

Crews expect to have all the girders in place by the end of the week. Then they’ll spend the next two to three weeks on the final roadway, including the deck, barriers and other key components.

The DOT says it’s still on schedule to replace the temporary span in early September, shortly after Labor Day weekend.  That will mean a full closure of I-5.

Each girder is roughly as long as the width of a football field (162 feet) and weighs a little more than a space shuttle when empty (168,000 pounds).  Once the girders are on site, two enormous cranes will work together to lift each girder into place.

The new bridge will replace the chunk of the Skagit River Bridge that collapsed near Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23, after an oversized semi-truck struck critical steel supports.

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