A report from a November 2012 inspection includes a long list of repairs that need to be made. The bridge was inspected after it got hit by a vehicle, and the report notes that several parts of the bridge had been damaged after "high load hits." The bridge collapsed last month shortly after a truck with an oversized load clipped the steel truss.
The photo below shows a shot of the damaged bridge from 2012:
AP / Washington Department of Transportation
Additional photos can be found with the AP's report.
The AP reports that even after state officials knew about the damage from the high load hits, they didn't try to stop truckers from hitting overhead structures on the bridge again. Washington's Department of Transportation puts detailed warnings on truck permits when routes could present potential problems, but the Skagit River bridge was never included on these warnings.
This bridge seems to have had particularly low clearance, and the AP reports that some trucks carrying loads that surpassed the clearance level were able to obtain permits to pass over the bridge.
Investigators believe that an oversize truck load hitting the bridge last month caused it to collapse and send vehicles plunging into the river. No one was seriously injured.
Inspections dating back to 1985 mention damage from high load hits.
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