Skagit River Bridge Collapse Preliminary Report

Jun 11, 2013

Federal investigators released a preliminary report Tuesday about last month’s I-5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River. What’s new in the report is a piece of information about the driver of the truck that struck the bridge.

A view from above the I-5 bridge after it collapsed.
Credit National Safety Transportation Board website

The bridge collapsed on May 23 after a truck carrying an oversized load hit supports along the top. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the truck driver told investigators that he felt "crowded" by another semitruck that was trying to pass him on the left, so he moved to the right.

That confirms eyewitness accounts. One of them was Dan Sligh. Here’s what he told KING 5 News the night of the crash.

“At the last minute there was a second semi that came up on the left side," Sligh says. "It appeared like it almost pinned that truck in from being able to come in left. At that point, the wide load caught the right side of the bridge. There was a loud ‘boom,' and a big puff of dust." 

Shortly after that puff of dust the bridge span fell into the Skagit River.

The right lane had less clearance than the left lane. The NTSB has previously said the oversized load could probably have crossed the bridge safely if it had stayed in the left lane. But the agency is still working to verify that.

The NTSB continues to investigate. And a WSDOT spokesman says they have no comment until the federal investigation is complete.

Copyright 2013 KUOW