Updated:MOUNT VERNON, Wash. —
Drivers should prepare for more Interstate 5 shutdowns and detours around the Skagit River in the coming months.
On Wednesday morning, the Washington Department of Transportation announced additional work on the permanent replacement of the Skagit River Bridge, which collapsed in May after an oversize semi hit one of the overhead steel trusses.
The original arched trusses are lower on the sides than they are in the middle, so there’s not as much clearance in the far right lanes.
The truck that caused the collapse hit one of those lower sections.
WSDOT announced they will take the arched trusses out, raising the overall clearance to 18 feet for the entire width of the bridge.
The $4.5 million project will be funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
"By doing this work, we diminish the risk of having this type of incident again in the future," said WSDOT’s Regional Administrator, Jay Drye.
The work will begin after the new bridge span is put in place, which is schedule for after Labor Day.
In order to do the work, the section of Interstate 5 between Mount Vernon and Burlington will have to be closed 43 times this fall.
Local businesses are still trying to recover from the weeks of closure in May, when the bridge was out.
Some businesses reported losing 70 percent of their business.
But this time, the closures will be at night, which is a big relief to Burlington city leaders.
There will be 36 eight-hour closures and seven 12-hour closures that will run between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
"With these evening closures,” said Burlington City Administrator Bryan Harrison, “the bridge will be open when businesses are open. It shouldn't be at all like the last event."