Governor proclaims state of emergency due to I-5 bridge collapse on Skagit River

May 24, 2013

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Gov. Jay Inslee this morning signed an emergency proclamation declaring a State of Emergency in Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties following the collapse of a section of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Skagit County yesterday evening.

“I commend all the first responders who provided immediate help in this situation and remain thankful and relieved there were no fatalities,” Inslee said. “I now ask for everyone’s patience as we investigate this incident, reroute traffic and make plans to repair the bridge.”

The bridge collapse closed the Interstate in both directions, requiring detours through nearby neighborhood roadways. Major traffic disruptions are expected to last for weeks along Interstate 5, the primary north and south route through Western Washington, impacting citizens, businesses and the economy in Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.

“Now we begin the immediate work of handling the high volume of traffic through this important corridor,” said Inslee. “We want to do everything we can to minimize impacts to local businesses and keep freight moving through the area.”

Repairs and necessary interstate highway closures require the approval of Washington’s Secretary of Transportation, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is coordinating resources and damage repairs. These emergency conditions warrant closure of affected roadways for a significant period and implementation of emergency procurement procedures to hire a contractor to repair the damage.

The proclamation directs state agencies “to do everything reasonably possible to assist affected political subdivisions in an effort to respond to and recover from the event.” 

Leading the state response in addition to WSDOT is the Washington State Patrol. The Washington State Military Department has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in support of local officials as they work to alleviate the immediate impacts on people, property, and infrastructure.

Inslee's State of Emergency proclamation goes into effect immediately.

Media Contact 

Jaime Smith
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136