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Discussion Starter #1
While the cause of the collapse is still unknown, witnesses reported seeing a semitruck with an oversized load crossing the bridge and striking the beams on the north end before the bridge collapsed.
"I saw it. I was less than 50 feet away from the truck when it hit it," witness Dale Ogden told KING 5. "I had just passed it in the fast lane southbound and it had an oversized load. It was approximately 12 feet wide and over 14 feet tall. It was in the slow lane when I came by...I was behind the flag car and in front of the truck in the other lane and I saw the whip - normally tells you how high they can clear - start hitting the bridge. I looked in my rearview mirror knowing this was not going to turn out well."
"I saw the truck strike the right corner of the bridge. It almost tipped the truck over but it came back down. It tipped it up to about a 30 degree angle to the left and it came back down on its wheels and almost instantaneously behind that I saw girders falling in my rearview mirror."
I-5 Skagit River collapse. Lots of pictures.
Is that a Ram in the water?
So far 3 people pulled from vehicles. 2 from the truck and one from a small car. So far no deaths. But someone suggests there is one more vehicle that is un-seen.
Looks like the Pickup had a vacation trailer that is crushed. Truck has a smashed roof but the rest isn't looking too bad.
 

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Probably. Trucks don't operate well outside of their intended mediums...

Dang, that looks bad...
 

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Discussion Starter #4


The curve overhead part of the bridge doesn't look like it has damage. But the structure beyond where orange primer is showing is all buckled.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If the semi is found to be the fault, they will pickup up the bill on bridge replacement. Hate to be their insurance company. If they don't have insurance to cover, looks like that company will probably be in deep financial problems.
 

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My cousin was on that bridge, just a few days earlier. Seeing this freaked her out.
My sister missed the I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota, by mere minutes.
Guess our family needs to stay away from bridges that are 50 years old.
 

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The insurance company will only be responsible to the limit of their liability, which I doubt is over $1 million. Peanuts for your average insurance company.

The trucking company might be worse off.

This does lead me to say that maybe we should be working on our infrastructure, which certain agencies have been warning us about for what, ten years? Twenty?
 

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DaveAdmin said:
The insurance company will only be responsible to the limit of their liability, which I doubt is over $1 million. Peanuts for your average insurance company.

The trucking company might be worse off.

This does lead me to say that maybe we should be working on our infrastructure, which certain agencies have been warning us about for what, ten years? Twenty?
Looking at the one pic of that bridge with its very low curved cross beams; there's a possibility the trucker may get off Scot free since it does not appear to meet Interstate standards.
 

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Bridges with less than specified clearances (14' in urban areas, 16' in rural areas) are typically signed, I believe. How does the fact that he had an oversized load change the burden of responsibility?
 

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The truck with the big blue box was oversize and had a pilot car with a height pole. that means he was a permit load and would have known of ANY bridge on his route that had clearance issues. It seems the load had come across the border (Alberta Canada based company) and was hauling a mining related structure to Vancouver WA. Dale Ogden's comments included that the pilot car was only about 150 feet in front of the load (freeway speeds do not give enough room to stop a semi at that distance) and that the pole DID it the top trusses. Also commented that the truck hit the bridge hard enough that the truck tilted at about 30 degrees from the hit. The driver of the Ram pickup said this morning that he and the wife were wondering why the trucker did not move over as he approached the bridge. Then as they got to the bridge, another semi had pulled up beside him which would have prevented his moving over. While none of this has been stated under oath, it is the truckers responsibility to make sure he clears any obstacle with or without a permit. The Ram driver and wife had left Whidbey Island NAS and were on their way to a camping trip. Neoither expected that it would be quite this much adventure. Happily they will recover. Small red car was on his way to a hockey event.
 

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Saw on the news this morning that the bridge had been inspected within the last year. This worries me.
 

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I used to drive over that bridge twice daily going to work and back....

Glad that no one was injured seriously. It could have been MUCH worse. Imagine if that would have happened later today or on Monday?...

And yes, alot of the bridges going up that direction are quite old, being original structures from when the Interstate system was implemented back in the 50's and 60's. When I first heard about it I was quite worried, because my mom lives up in that direction and travels I5 back and forth daily, but this is a few exits north of where she goes.

Danno
 

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This does lead me to say that maybe we should be working on our infrastructure, which certain agencies have been warning us about for what, ten years? Twenty?
Yes, we should be. But without being political because it applies to both parties, there is much more glamour in using those funds to build something shiny and brand new (a new road, a new bridge, a transportation museum) with the gas tax money rather than repairing or replacing existing roads and bridges.
 

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Another angle shows damage to the first curved arch, but I suspect that the critical damage was to the second, now-submerged arch, based on where the bridge is most buckled. If that's how it happened, hitting the second arch would have buckled top horizontal span on the truck's side, and the top would start to come together there. As that span collapses but the span on the oncoming side remains intact the bridge would start to bend toward the oncoming side, eventually the oncoming span would also deflect, and the whole thing would drop into the river, slightly toward the oncoming side.

At least that's how my non-degree, armchair engineering interprets it.


As for the bridge itself, apparently it had already been categorized as functionally-obsolete. I don't know if that's only based on design/clearances, or if that's also based on condition, but that previous determination could go a long way to mitigating the trucking company's responsibility.

Here in the PHX area we had a series of bridges for arterial roads that crossed over I-17. One summer it seemed like we had three collisions with trucks on at least two of the bridges, and they finally got around to replacing all of them.
 

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Wow! luky it was not worse.
 

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Several iron bridges in my area have been replaced in the last few years, one is on going now. Some lament the loss of the quaint architecture, but whenever I see a loaded log truck that is grossing 110,000 to 120,000 lbs crossing those old, rusty bridges, I can't help but think how none (or very few) of them were designed to be in service for this many years handling that much weight.
 

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The bridge inspection did require some work but trhe DOT said today that all items on the list were done. The problem goes back to designs that were prevelant in the 1950's compared to today. Few bridges today are designed with the main support above the road surface. Suspension bridges are along the side but not directly over the roadway. My first impression was that the hit bent the top member of the bridge between the triangle struts going down to the road base. If that strut, which is in compression, changes shape in any way you no longer have a good triangle and the angle at the bottom (road level in this case) starts to compress which will collapse the top strut and it will go down. That is why they now build most bridges with the support below the roadway to eliminate that possibility. Also, they now build the bridges for a higher axle load rating and wider lanes for emergencies. This bridge was declared stucturaly deficient because it could not be brought up to curent standards (trusses on the sides were to close to the roadway) and load rating was not up to current standards. 20,000 lb/axle was it's current rating. If you look at the earlier picture, you will see that it is about 3 feet from the fog line to the truss which is only protected by a Jersey barrier. The collapse came from failure caused by the truck hitting the top truss at highway speed (IMHO).
 

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The load wasn't the problem and the route wasn't the problem, it was literally hitting the bridge that caused the problem so there should be absolutely no issue with the structurality of the bridge itself. This was an accident, not an infrastructure issue. Now, with that said, the inspection done a year ago to say the bridge was structurally sound is probably correct, there are not many things that are stucturally sound that could take being run into by any oversized load that would have survived. I've been across this bridge many times, never had any problems, but then again, didn't have an oversized truck run into the side of it at speed to wipe out a section of it either.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
dfarc said:
Saw on the news this morning that the bridge had been inspected within the last year. This worries me.
Last November

The guy from the truck & trailer in the water said another semi quickly came up on the other lane and cut off his access to occupy both lanes. Sounds like the pickup was on CB with the wide load truck and offered him to move over any time.
So basically the wide load truck needed a blocker car to allow them to hog both lanes beside a front vehicle with pole.
Too bad he didn't slow down to allow the other truck to pass or moved over earlier to force the other truck not to pass.
Hope they find that other semi driver so they help with payments.
 
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