Unexpected Plunge

, Posted in Regional, Posted: Fri, May 24 2013 at 7:34 PM, Updated: Fri, May 24 2013 at 7:40 PM

Mount Vernon, Wash.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Friday federal transportation officials are helping find a temporary structure to span the 160-foot section of an Interstate 5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River Thursday night, halting traffic on the main north-south corridor between Seattle and Canada.

"There is a possibility we can use what's known as a Bailey bridge, which was something that was built and developed in World War II to span this 160-foot section," Inslee said during a Friday news conference. "We are searching the entire country right now, trying to find a Bailey bridge that might be able to provide us with a temporary span."

Federal officials have promised to send $1 million to Washington immediately to pay for emergency repairs on the Skagit River bridge. Inslee declared a disaster proclamation, estimating bridge repairs costs at $15 million.

The collapse happened around 7 p.m. Thursday on the north part of the four-lane Interstate 5 bridge near Mount Vernon, about 60 miles north of Seattle. It sent a section of the span and two vehicles into the Skagit River below, though all three occupants suffered only minor injuries.

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