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Tensions mount as some drivers break laws at I-5 bridge detours

Drivers navigate a detour around the section of I-5 closed by the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge. The Washington State Patrol says a number of drivers are blocking intersections and running red light in the area, prompting increased complaints and patrols. (AP image)

Tensions are mounting as drivers try to navigate detours around the collapsed Skagit River Bridge over I-5. And the State Patrol is beefing up its presence to help cool things down.

Trooper Mark Francis says a number of drivers are blocking intersections or running red lights around the area, even with troopers stationed there.

"We understand it's a big headache, it's a big inconvenience, but we want to make sure people are getting from point A to point B as safely and smoothly as possible."

Francis says there have been a number of complaints, especially about trucks or vehicles towing trailers that see a little opening on the other side of the intersection and try to squeeze their way in.

"So they'll shoot in there with just the front of their vehicle and end up blocking the entire intersection."

Other drivers are simply ignoring signals altogether, blatantly cutting traffic and running red lights.

There haven't been any reports of road rage, yet. But Francis says drivers are growing increasingly frustrated, and troopers want to make sure things don't escalate.

So far, troopers in Mount Vernon and Burlington have been mostly issuing warnings. But they can issue $124 tickets for either running red lights or blocking intersections.

"With these detours, it's only going to compound the other issues. That's definitely what we don't want."

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