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Next step: WSDOT planning for Skagit River I-5 bridge repair, replacement

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks to the media along with Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, left, after an Interstate 5 bridge collapsed over the Skagit River between Mt. Vernon and Burlington on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Two cars and one travel trailer went in the water. There were no known fatalities. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee told KIRO Radio Friday morning the Washington State Department of Transportation began working on plans to repair or replace the I-5 bridge within an hour or two of its collapse over the Skagit River.

WSDOT is already working on the emergency contracting procedures, according to Inslee.

The first step will be to remove the wreckage from the Skagit River. The department of transportation has already drawn up those contracts.

Second, engineers will reassess the rest of the bridge's spans. Only one of multiple spans went down, and Inslee said contractors will need to determine whether significant damage was done to any of the remaining spans.

The third step will be determining how to replace the bridge, or repair the existing bridge.

Inslee said there is some good news, "There is a significant chance we could simply replace it with the original construction designs. That may be possible here."

Replacing the bridge with its original design may be the fastest approach to going about repairs. Due to the nature of the collapse, Inslee said officials will determine if that's the best plan of action.

At a minimum, bridge repairs and replacement are expected to take "months."

On Friday Inslee declared a State of Emergency for Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties. The estimated cost to repair the bridge is $15 million, according to Inslee's office.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Inslee the federal government will release $1 million in emergency funds Friday for the Skagit bridge.

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About the Author


Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.

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