Alabama residents who planned to travel to Washington or Canada via Interstate 5 over the holiday weekend had their travel plans changed by a bridge collapsing. Just days before the Memorial Day weekend began, a bridge 60 miles north of Seattle fell into the river after a truck accidents at the wheel of an 18-wheeler collided with one of the bridge's overhead tresses. The tress was a part of the bridge's "superstructure," which is what investigators believe caused the collapse.
The 1,111 foot-long bridge was over 50 years old, and though it was considered to be structurally sound, it was also classified as functionally obsolete. Bridges with this classification are not tall enough to accommodate taller trucks or may have narrow lanes or shoulders. When the bridge fell into the Skagit River, automobiles went into the river as well. A few people were hospitalized, but there were no fatalities.
The collapse of the bridge has caused concern about the state of other bridges and their safety. While it appears the enormous damage was caused by the location that the semi-truck collided with the bridge, the question of how many other older bridges could end up collapsing if hit in the right place remains.
Due to the enormous size and weight of semi-trucks, it is essential that trucking companies and drivers are focused on safety and do not take risks. If someone has been injured in an accident caused by a semi-truck driver, a lawyer may be able to help them understand their options for legal recourse. A lawyer could also help someone receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages as a result of the accident.
Source: CNN, "Truck hit caused Washington state bridge collapse, police say", Chelsea J. Carter, Ben Brumfield and Katharine Bar, May 24, 2013