Bridge Collapse on I-5 in Washington Sends Cars, Drivers Plunging Into River

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Three people were rescued after a bridge collapse in Washington State sent cars plunging cars into Skagit River below Thursday night, officials said.

The Washington State Patrol said the extent of the injuries for the three is unclear, but all were evaluated on scene and were taken to area hospitals.

Authorities say they have no reason to believe any others are still in the river, where Interstate 5 crosses the river about an hour north of Seattle.

“I’m thankful there were no fatalities,” said Wash. Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “Witnesses say a truck hit the bridge and caused it to collapse."

"An investigation has been launched to confirm that."

"We will be involved in a vigorous and diligent effort to get traffic flowing again and to make sure we have the resources to do so as quickly as possible.

"This is an opportunity for us to pull together to show strength of character and patience and good citizenship as we deal with this disruption."

I-5 is the main freeway that runs along the West Coast, and not surprisingly, traffic was significantly backed up in both directions following the collapse.

I-5 Bridge Collapse Photo
Bridge Collpase on I-5 Pic

Two vehicles were submerged in the after the section of the bridge fell around 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. EDT), according to local news reports.

The minimum vertical clearance on the bridge (distance from the road to something a truck can bump into) is 14.5 feet. The standard height is 16 feet.

This I-5 bridge was described by officials following a 2010 inspection as "somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is."

The bridge received identical scores on inspections in 2010, 2008 and 2006, and is on a schedule for inspection every 24 months, as per federal regulations.

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