Working under rainy skies and with a large audience of onlookers, workers lifted the two vehicles involved in Thursday’s Interstate 5 bridge collapse from the Skagit River Monday.
Using an excavator with hydraulic shears, workers cuts through some of the bridge’s trusses and used a 150-ton crane positioned on a barge in the river to safely hoist the vehicles out of the water.
Sunday night, scuba divers had examined where the bridge was resting on the river’s bottom to make sure the wreckage didn’t move the wrong way and create a risky situation, state Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Chesson said.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that a temporary span could be in place and ready for traffic mid-June, while a permanent replacement would be constructed by September.
Onlookers Teresa and Randy Litke of Mount Vernon stood on the levee on the south side of the river Monday and watched as the vehicles were lifted into the air. They said this was their first visit to the site.
“We decided to stay out of the way and let everyone take care of it,” Teresa said.
They had both watched as the huge shears snipped through the steel to allow the crane and attached vehicle safe passage through the wreckage.
“We were probably lucky that there wasn’t a more serious accident,” she said.
The portion of the bridge between Mount Vernon and Burlington collapsed when an over-sized truck struck the span’s trusses, sending two vehicles into the river.
The three passengers of the vehicles, a Subaru crossover and white pickup truck, were rescued Thursday evening; none suffered serious injuries.