U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood today announced he is making $1 million in federal emergency funds immediately available to Washington State to help repair the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River that collapsed last night.
"We are doing everything possible to restore mobility as quickly as possible and expedite repairs," said Secretary LaHood. "Today's funding represents a down payment on our commitment to the people of Washington."
A section of the four-lane interstate bridge, located 60 miles north of Seattle, collapsed into the water, disrupting travel in both directions. The funds will help the Washington Department of Transportation install temporary bridges over the river and make permanent repairs. The Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief (ER) program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.
"We will continue to stand by Washington until all repair efforts are completed and this vital transportation link for international commerce is back up and running again," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
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.