Skagit County waits and watches as temporary I-5 bridge goes up

Skagit County waits and watches as temporary I-5 bridge goes up
MOUNT VERNON -- The third weekend after the dramatic collapse of the Skagit River Bridge, emergency repair crews report they are on schedule, businesses, residents and travelers are eagerly waiting for completion of a temporary replacement.

That's the sound of progress.

Iron workers assembling metal spans that promise to once again carry I-5 traffic across the Skagit River.

"If it takes an extra week, that's what it's gonna take," said Gene Robbins who lives his family a few miles outside Mount Vernon.

They stopped by to see how it's coming along.

"I'd rather it be something that we trust, a week longer rather than something that's hurried," Robbins said.

But for many local businesses, every day without a bridge is a day of financial loss.

"Our Canadian customers are not coming down. they are too scared of the traffic," he said.

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory took a significant hit the first week after the collapse.

Then came week two.

"I compared this week's numbers to last week's comparable and we're actually down about twenty percent," co-owner Angela Walden said.

Other business owners she knows are in far worse shape.

"They're hurting. There's some business talking about closing their doors," Walden said.

While work crews fix the broken bridge, lawmakers want to fix what they call the lax system of regulating oversize trucks.

State senator Michael Baumgartner just proposed legislation that would forbid the Department of Transportation from issuing a permit to trucks that are higher than any of the bridges along the driver's proposed route.