While workers pull debris out of the Skagit River in Washington following the collapse of the I-5 bridge, the NTSB is keeping a close eye on the process.
Beam U4, the second crossbeam in the southbound direction that was struck by a haul truck carrying drilling equipment, was still in the water as of Monday, May 27. Crews had to be extremely careful with the beam in order to preserve evidence. By Monday evening, a few of the downed beams were already being delivered to the NTSB, who will give the go-ahead to remove the rest of the failed bridge once its satisfied with what was pulled from the river. Once that happens, the remaining pieces can be removed and a temporary bridge constructed. State officials are hoping some type of crossing will be erected by mid-June.
About 10 overhead crossbeams were hit by the truck, which was led by a pilot vehicle with a height pole. The NTSB will interview the driver of the pilot vehicle. According to The Seattle Times, witnesses said they saw the pilot car’s pole wagging as it crossed the bridge. If this did happen, the driver of the pilot vehicle was supposed to radio back to the haul-truck driver.
While the NTSB is sifting through the wreckage, the Washington State DOT also is taking a hard look at the damaged bridge.
“This is our opportunity to go over the bridge with a fine-tooth comb while there’s no traffic on it,” Dave Chesson, state DOT spokesman, told the Times.