U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that he is making $15.6 million in federal emergency funds available to Washington State to help repair the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River that collapsed on May 23. A section of the four-lane bridge, located 60 miles north of Seattle, collapsed into the water, disrupting travel in both directions.
"We are making good on our promise to help the people of Washington in every way we can," said Secretary LaHood. "These emergency funds are a major part of our commitment to restore mobility and expedite repairs as quickly as possible."
Today's funding follows $1 million in quick release emergency relief provided the day after the collapse. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will use the funds to build a new replacement span. In the interim, WSDOT continues to operate detours and is building a temporary bridge. When the new replacement span is complete, WSDOT will remove the temporary bridge and install the new span.
"People and businesses have been impacted while this bridge is out of commission, and that hurts both the local and national economy," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "We are providing the state with the federal support it needs to restore this critical link."
The bridge carries an estimated 71,000 vehicles each day and is a major commercial route between Washington and Canada. Approximately 11 percent of the vehicles are commercial trucks transporting goods between the two countries.
The Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.