You may remember a few weeks ago in the news that the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon was hit by a truck with an oversize load and collapsed. Luckily the three people in the two vehicles that went down were rescued without serious injuries.
Mount Vernon is the closest town of any size to the ranch (about 45 miles away) and where we do almost all of our shopping. I had been “downriver” that day doing errands and drove over the bridge about a half hour before the accident.
After the bridge collapse, all traffic – estimated at over 70,000 vehicles per day – has been re-routed onto a couple of surface streets through town and across another smaller bridge over the river. As you might expect it has been a traffic nightmare. All of the truck traffic that usually travels I-5 was forced to travel through town – what a mess for the truckers and everyone else. The local businesses have really suffered due to the severe congestion. Some businesses have reported that their customer count has been reduced by 80%.
The good news is that the powers that be have been working on the situation and as of Wednesday the temporary bridge is in place and open. Hooray!
The temporary bridge has some size and weight restrictions and a reduced speed limit, but traffic is moving freely again! This situation has illustrated for me that sometimes you take things for granted until they are gone. I don’t think I will ever drive over that bridge again without being thankful it is there.
In a beautiful place like Skagit County where there is lots of water and thus lots of bridges you learn that they are really important. The permanent replacement is supposed to be up sometime in the early fall, but for now I am very happy the temporary bridge is open!