Washington Bridge Collapse Caused by 18-Wheeler
Authorities are speculating that last night’s bridge collapse in Mount Vernon, Washington may have been caused by an oversize semi truck hitting several of the bridge’s girders. The bridge collapsed at around 7 pm on Thursday (5/23/13), sending two cars plummeting into the Skagit River, and injuring three people.
Investigation into Bridge Collapse Begins
“We're looking at the cause being an oversized, over-height vehicle, striking critical portions of this bridge, causing it to collapse,” said Travis Phelps of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol.
The truck in question is said to have struck a portion of the bridge prior to the collapse, sending one of the bridge’s four spans into the river below.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation into the incident and is working with local and state authorities to determine any and all factors that may have contributed to the collapse.
Bridge had “Fracture Critical” Design
According to an NBC News report, the 1,112-foot steel truss bridge was built in 1955 and carries approximately 71,000 vehicles per day over the Skagit River. The bridge was said to have a 14.5 foot vertical clearance (the standard is 16 feet.)
The report also stated that a Washington State Department of Transportation inspection in August 2010 found the bridge to be “somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is.”
The Seattle Times is reporting that the bridge was of “average” condition but had been described as having a “fracture critical” design, meaning that if one portion of the bridge is compromised, the entire structure could fail. Thousands of bridges throughout the U.S. are “fracture critical,” according to the Federal Highway Administration. The bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007, killing 13 and injuring 145, was also considered a “fracture critical” structure.
Contact an Experienced Transportation Accident Attorney
Accident claims involving catastrophic transportation accidents, such as the Mount Vernon bridge collapse, can be complex in nature and often require an extensive investigation, thorough documentation, strong supporting testimony, and the use of expert witnesses. That is why many victims injured in catastrophic accidents choose to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle their claims.
Thomas J. Henry have handled a multitude of catastrophic accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest transportation accident cases throughout the United States.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a transportation accident, contact our offices– we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.
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