Thursday about 7 p.m., drivers heard a sharp bang and then part of the four-lane I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River north of Seattle, Washington suddenly collapsed. The major bridge collapse sent vehicles and their occupants tumbling into the water. A camper was spotted upside down in the water, along with several cars whose occupants were seen crawling out of the their vehicles and on top of them.
At least 3 People Injured in the I-5 Bridge Collapse Were Transported to the Hospital
Fortunately, our bridge collapse injury attorneys note that the water was not deep at the point of the I-5 Bridge collapse. Most people were seemingly able to extricate themselves from their vehicles, which remained partially above the waterline. Ambulances and rescuers were on hand to help the injured.
Our bridge collapse injury attorneys report that at least three people were sent to local hospitals. It was not known yet if anyone had died in the I-5 Bridge collapse or how seriously people were injured.
The I-5 Bridge was Listed as Functionally Obsolete and had a Fairly Low Sufficiency Rating
The cause of the sudden bridge collapse is not yet known. Preliminary reports are blaming an oversized load. (Preventing such collapses is part of the reason why bridges and roads have load limits and why they should be obeyed.) But the bridge was also listed as functionally obsolete, meaning that it had an outdated design. The bridge, like 42 of the 108 bridges in the Washington county, was more than 50 years old (it was built in 1955). Federal records indicate that the sufficiency rating of the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River was only 57.4 out of 100.
While this sufficiency rating of less than 60% did not seem to greatly concern civil engineers or safety officials, it might be less than you would want if you had to drive over the bridge every day.
The Washington State average on bridge sufficiency ratings is reportedly 80. The bridge collapse injury attorneys at Denena Points, PC emphasize that Washington is a state of many waterways and bridges, and apparently over 25% of the state’s 7,840 bridges are considered as functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. (Source: Mike Baker and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press by way of Yahoo News, 5/23/13)
Be Alert to Your Risk when Driving over some Washington State Bridges
Perhaps Washington State will be so kind as to distribute easily accessible information to residents and travelers regarding which bridges might be considered to be in danger, so that drivers could avoid them rather than risk tumbling into the water like the drivers and passengers on the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River on Thursday evening.
Our bridge collapse injury attorneys point out that Washington State bridges have collapsed before in spectacular fashion. The dramatic and disastrous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is still one of the most studied structural collapses of bridges. Attributed to wind and deficient design, the bridge collapse was captured on camera. Click the link to learn more about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse and possible causes of similar structural collapses.