MOUNT VERNON — Washington State Patrol detectives are looking for a second commercial truck believed to have been on the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River when a section of that bridge collapsed May 23, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.
Authorities have said a 160-foot bridge segment crumbled when a girder was struck by an oversize load on a truck. The truck made it off the bridge but two vehicles went into the water and three people were rescued. That truck driver stopped.
Detectives hope to talk to the driver of a commercial truck pulling a white trailer that’s believed to have passed the oversize load in the left lane as the bridge collapsed, Trooper Mark Francis said.
Investigators don’t believe the second truck damaged the bridge but do think the oversize load may have struck the top of the second rig, Francis said. Detectives working with the National Transportation Safety Board would like that second driver’s perspective, the spokesman said.
“They’re just trying to be as thorough as they can,” he said. “They’re looking at every single angle of this story and this is just another one of them.”
Several witnesses have said there was another big rig there, Francis said.
Also, “it appears that when the oversize load struck the bridge it shifted to the left and struck something to the left,” he said. Detectives think it may have hit the top right portion of the second truck.
If that second truck was heavily loaded, the driver might not have even felt the impact, Francis said.
Work is on track for the bridge to reopen in mid-month, the state Transportation Department said Monday.
The NTSB has not yet finished its site investigation, but a contractor has started assembling a temporary span that can be rolled into position to replace the collapsed section, DOT spokesman Travis Phelps said.
The Transportation Department plans a community meeting Thursday night in Burlington to update affected residents and businesses.