Mid-June: that’s how soon residents may see a temporary fix to the Interstate-5 bridge over the Skagit River near Mount Vernon, Wash. It collapsed last week when a truck hit an overhead support beam. Two vehicles fell into the river. No one was seriously injured. It is a serious situation – but in the aftermath, one T-shirt company is throwing a little fun into the mix.
Jessica Lynch is a local. She lives on Guemes Island, right by Anacortes. Lynch owns a screenprint T-shirt company, and she’s been selling a Skagit River bridge shirt for years. Lynch loves bridges, so she made an artsy, cute drawing of a bridge truss.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives states a report card on their infrastructure. Washington state got a C minus this year for its bridges, a fact widely reported on over the last week.
When Lynch heard that – hours after the collapse - she laughed. She immediately thought of her bridge T-shirt.
"I’m like heck, let’s burn a new screen and put a C minus on it, and slap it on the front, and we’ll print 'em to order," Lynch says.
She had her bridge shirt with a brand new C minus stamped on top of it for sale on her website less than 24 hours after the collapse.
Lynch thought she might sell six shirts, maybe a dozen. She's sold 200 and counting.
While the bridge is down, traffic is being detoured off of I-5 and onto smaller highways, right through nearby towns.
Lynch says her initial idea was to give her neighbors a chuckle.
"It effects so much of us more who live here and just want to go to Costco," Lynch says. "It’s a big deal having all these people driving through here. It was more trying to just put a smile on our faces when we’re sitting in a traffic jam.
If anyone had been seriously hurt, she says she would never have made the shirt.
And as for the state’s temporary fix to the bridge: will she be comfortable driving over it? Lynch jokes that she’s eager to see what grade it gets.
Copyright 2013 KUOW