The bridge collapse over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon has completely shut down Interstate 5, and officials are grappling with the next step in filling the gaping hole in the main north-south thoroughfare through Skagit County.
Skagit County officials say a long-term map of alternative routes has been agreed upon after a day of discussion and analysis by an interagency traffic group made up of representatives and engineers from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington, and the Skagit County Public Works Department.
This is a plan that I believe benefits us all, said Dina Swires of WSDOT.
In general, the plan calls for establishment of route options based on each driver s destination, with particular focus on out-of-area drivers. The plan is built around detour routes and adjustment of signs and signals.
Swires said variable message signs would be delivered for placement/installation on Saturday. Alternate routes will be posted onWSDOT and Skagit County websites.
Detour information from WSDOT
The Department of Transportation will continue to modify the detour routes. Find up-to-date information at the following locations
There are several ways you can keep updated on traffic through the area:
Planes, trains are an alternative to automobiles
Drivers are facing two, even three-hour delays because of bridge detours. Some companies are offering travelers an alternative to driving.
Amtrak and BNSF are taking on more passengers. Alaska Airlines also announced a special fare of $99 each way, Seattle to Bellingham, through June 1. Some people are flying via Kenmore Air
Amtrak says it plans to add one daily round trip between Seattle and Bellingham.
In a statement, Amtrak, WSDOT, Sound Transit and BNSF Railway said they're working together to add the service. It would involve a morning departure from Seattle to Bellingham with an early evening return to help those who normally drive the route. Spokesmen said more details will be released as they become available.
Amtrak says its Amtrak Cascades service provides four trips each day over the Skagit River Rail Bridge, which remains fully functional.