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Detours and patience required for I-5 travel

Skagit River bridge collapse
Photo by Jon Thomas Bauer, provided
courtesy of The (Everett) Herald

Detours are in place around the collapsed Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River to help handle the more than 70,000 vehicles who use that stretch of freeway each day.

Heavy traffic is expected on various alternative routes for the foreseeable future, and state and local officials urge drivers to be patient, use caution when traveling in this area and pay attention to signage and route changes.

While the blockage of I-5 could cause disruption to trade and tourism between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, federal, state and local agencies are working together to understand and minimize those impacts and support area business and region-wide travel and commerce.

When the bridge first collapsed on May 23, City of Bellingham public safety and transportation officials immediately reached out to Washington state, Skagit County, Mount Vernon and Burlington officials, offering staffing and other resources for the immediate response and beyond.

"We were in touch with our state and local government colleagues immediately last night, and had personnel on the scene and standing by to assist as needed,” Bellingham Fire Chief Roger Christensen said. “We were very grateful to quickly learn there were no fatalities and not more people injured, and we offer our sympathies to the families affected by this incident.”

“City officials are ready to provide support and participate in discussions about ways to reduce impacts,” he said.

Resources for more information:

Washington State Department of Transportation website, including links to various WSDOT mobile travel tools, social media sites and more.

Alternative transportation options (Port of Bellingham website)

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism website, including transportation tips for travelers

Western Washington University, including transportation tips for students

Governor Jay Inslee’s May 24 emergency proclamation for Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties

Whatcom Unified Emergency Management, including I-5/Skagit Bridge updates.

Published:  May 24, 2013

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