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Effort to rename Skagit River bridge in honor of WSP trooper

As work continues to rebuild a section of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River, some lawmakers want to rename the completed span after a Washington State Patrol trooper who died in the line of duty. (WSDOT photo)

State lawmakers want to name the rebuilt I-5 Skagit River bridge in honor of the Washington State Patrol trooper who was killed while working on one of the bridge detour routes.

The Skagit River bridge collapsed after an over-sized load struck structural supports on May 23. Three vehicles went into the water, but no one was injured.

Mayors in Mount Vernon and Burlington say that changed Friday night when trooper Sean O’Connell became the first casualty of the bridge collapse.

O’Connell died after his motorcycle collided with a box truck Friday evening near the Skagit County town of Conway.

While family, friends and colleagues prepare for his public memorial Thursday, a resolution to rename the span the “Sean M. O’Connell Memorial Bridge” is being introduced in both houses of the legislature during the special session.

Senator Kevin Ranker and Representatives Jeff Morris and Kristine Lytton are behind the bridge naming effort.

“Renaming the bridge in Officer O’Connell’s honor is just a small token of our gratitude for his 16 years of dedication to our state, but it doesn’t even begin to display the level of appreciation all Washingtonians have for his service or the heartache and compassion we feel for his family in the wake of his loss,” the lawmakers wrote in a statement.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the bridge accident continues, as does the effort to rebuild a temporary bridge.

The Washington State Department of Transportation released a video showing how the temporary bridge will be rebuilt.


Public memorial planned for highly regarded state trooper

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