The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

May 23, 2013

Update: Company says it has permits to cross span

(Continued)

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. —

The trucking company said it received a state permit to carry its oversized load across the bridge. Scherbinski said the Washington state Department of Transportation had approved of the company's plan to drive the equipment along I-5 to Vancouver, Wash.

He also said the company hired a local escort to help navigate the route. He said the driver was well-experienced with handling oversized loads.

"This is what we do for a living. We pride ourselves in doing things the proper way," Scherbinski said.

Mike Allende, a state DOT spokesman, confirmed the truck had its permit.

"We're still trying to figure out why it hit the bridge," he said. "It's ultimately up to the trucking company to figure out whether it can get through. It's their responsibility to make sure the load they have can travel on that route."

Cynthia Scott, of Spruce Grove, Alberta, said she spoke with her husband moments after he saw the bridge fall into a river in his rear-view mirror. Cynthia Scott said there was a small ding in one of the front corners of the load.

Dave Chesson, a state DOT spokesman, said there were no signs leading up to the bridge warning about its clearance height.

Gov. Jay Inslee — who issued an emergency proclamation for surrounding Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties — said it will cost $15 million to repair the Skagit River bridge. The federal government has already promised the state $1 million in emergency dollars to fix the bridge.

Inslee talked to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday morning. LaHood is promising his full support to get Washington's main north-south roadway repaired as quickly as possible. National Transportation Safety Board officials planned to join state authorities at a Monday afternoon news briefing.

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