Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

I-5 bridge north of Seattle collapses


Expert Expediter
Bridge collapse on I-5 north of Seattle ......

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon collapsed on Thursday evening, sending cars and people plunging into the water below, KOMO-TV reports. The bridge is just north of Seattle.

Washington State Patrol trooper Mark Francis told KOMO that the northbound and southbound portions of the bridge collapsed into the river at around 7 p.m. Thursday.
Francis also said there were several cars on the bridge when it went down, and many vehicles are now in the river.

Francis said he had no immediate estimate of how many people were in the water or whether there were any injuries or deaths.

Cars, People Sent Plunging Into River After Bridge Collapses Near Seattle | Video |


Staff member
An update:

Three people were rescued from a river after a bridge along Interstate-5 in Washington State collapsed on Thursday evening, plunging cars into the water below, according to Washington State Patrol. The extent of the injuries for the three is unclear, but all were evaluated on scene and were transported to area hospitals, according to Marcus Deyerin of the Washington Incident Management Team. Authorities say they have no reason to believe any others are still in the river.

So that's good.


Veteran Expediter
Wow glad there were no deaths..."troopers have located a commercial motor vehicle believed to have hit several girders on the bridge just prior to the collapse. The driver is cooperating with investigators."


Senior Member
Retired Expediter
State Patrol said, "For reasons unknown at this point in time, the semi struck the overhead of the bridge causing the collapse," The truck made it off the bridge and the driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

Other reports indicate that it was an oversize load that struck the top beams of the bridge. Because the bridge was constructed as it was, that was enough to take it down.

CNN Story

From another report: "The vertical clearance from the roadway to the beam is 14.6 feet."
Last edited:


Veteran Expediter
I'm not an accident reconstruction expert, but I'll bet it hit the bridge because it was TOO FRIGGIN TALL !

since only a corner was clipping the bridge it could be as simple as suspension problem causing one side to lean too low, kicking the other side up.
I once pulled a 13'6" trl that air bags wouldn't air up. Back sat low and nose was close to 14'.
They said run it. I did. It was my first week with the company. Stuff like that happened daily. I left at the end of the first week.


Seasoned Expediter
If it was too high, it seems the other three spans would of been clipped too, no? There are some reports that another big rig passed him on the bridge forcing him too far to the right, that might make some sense. It looks like the bridge has less clearance on the shoulders, should of took the middle of the two lanes, seems like a failure of the escorts to block for him. Also read in some reports that the height pole on the lead escort was banging the bridge too, that would indicate maybe he was too tall and couldn't stop, BUT wouldn't explain why he cleared the other three spans UNLESS the first span had less clearance? Lots of questions and I am sure there will be a big legal battle between WSDOT, the carrier, the driver and the escort company sorting this all out. WSDOT is saying 15M to repair, that will probably exceed the carriers insurance limits.

The photos show nice looking equipment, the company had experience in oversize, permits were obtained and they had an escort, didn't appear to be a fly by night outfit, BUT obviously something failed in the process.



Veteran Expediter
They do run good equipment.

If the escort pole hit the bridge he should have been far enough back to stop and figure out the problem.

The pole car wouldn't have been on the shoulder when he hit.

I pulled a 17' tall frac tank, unescorted, from Tx to Rifle Co. Tall is not fun, takes good planning.

Just for conversation, 14' tall is the legal limit in a lot of western states. Wa included. This bridge was 14'6".