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Pre-built bridges to be trucked to Interstate 5 collapse site in Washington state

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, May 26, 2013, 8:03 p.m.

SEATTLE — Temporary spans will be installed across the Skagit River in northern Washington state where an Interstate 5 span collapsed into the water last week, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday.

Inslee said he hopes the temporary spans, each with two lanes for northbound and southbound traffic, will be finished in about three weeks or about mid-June.

The spans will be pre-built and trucked to Mount Vernon, Wash., where the collapse happened.

The state plan also calls for a permanent span to be built at the same time with crews rolling in the permanent fix by autumn, officials said.

“We're going to get this project done as fast as humanly possible,” Inslee said. “There are no more important issues right now to the economy of the state of Washington than getting this bridge up and running.”

Officials say there are remaining inspections to the spans left standing to make sure they are safe to use.

The federal government is expected to cover 100 percent of the costs of the temporary bridge and 90 percent of the replacement, said state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson.

The temporary span would be able to carry regular-sized cargos as well as cars. The speed limit would be lower than the 60 mph allowed previously.

On Thursday, a semi-truck carrying an oversize load clipped a steel truss, starting the collapse of the span and sending cars and people into the cold river, authorities said. The three people in the cars survived with non-life-threatening injuries.

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