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It’s a there-but-for-the-grace-of-God moment

A portion of the Interstate-5 bridge is submerged after it collapsed into the Skagit river dumping vehicles and people into the water in Mount Vernon, Wash., Thursday, May 23, 2013 according to the Washington State Patrol. (AP Photo/Joe Nicholson)

Hannah and Kiralee crossed that bridge …”Everyday. We both work in Burlington on that side of the bridge.”

And they will never forget yesterday, “I was driving home from work and I pulled off the exit right before the bridge and went to a store and the bridge was still up. And I came back out and the bridge was down. So I drove home slowly over Riverside, but I immediately got on my bike and came back. So I almost went over it.”

They were among the last to cross the I-5 bridge connecting the towns of Burlington and Mt. Vernon, North of Seattle, right before an oversize truck hit one of the girders, and an entire segment crumpled into the Skagit river.

Dale Ogden saw it in his rear view mirror, “I actually saw the truck hit the structure, yes. I was less than 50 feet in front of the truck and I looked in my rear-view mirror just before it struck and watched it strike. The truck rolled up onto the left side and I’m surprised it didn’t roll all the way over, it rolled up about 30 degrees and came back on its tires and the bridge fell.”

It’ll take an investigation to figure out why hitting a single girder might cause such a thing. The bridge was built in 1955, but it had passed inspection, it wasn’t listed for replacement. And Hanna and Kiralee told KIRO Radio’s Brandi Kruse they never gave it a second thought,
“Nothing, I’ve never even thought about it. It never occurred to me. I don’t think about a bridge collapsing under me.”

No one does. Until it’s one that you travel every day – and then suddenly, it’s ALL you think about.

“It blows my mind.”

Read more:
Truck hitting bridge support blamed for I-5 bridge collapse; 3 injured
Photos: Survivors, rescuers at the scene of bridge collapse
Alternative routes for drivers following bridge collapse
Collapsed bridge described as ‘functionally obsolete’
Commuters in disbelief after I-5 bridge collapses
Inslee on what comes next for I-5 bridge replacement

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