Pilot-car driver issues statement on I-5 bridge collapse

I-5 Bridge Collapse
A collapsed section of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River is seen in an aerial view Friday, May 24, 2013. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel)

SEATTLE (AP) — A pilot-car driver who led a truck with an oversize load across an Interstate 5 bridge — as a section of that bridge collapsed May 23 — says she has cooperated in the investigation and did her job properly.

In a statement released Wednesday, Tammy DeTray of Olympia said she takes her job very seriously and “was horrified” by the collapse of a 160-foot bridge section in Skagit County. DeTray said she showed National Transportation Safety Board investigators she had her indicator pole set to verify vertical clearance for the truck, in compliance with regulations for a pilot car. She said the pole did not touch the bridge. Had it done so, she said she would have warned the truck driver following her.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators concluded work Thursday at the scene of that Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge collapse. Authorities have said the bridge segment crumbled when a girder was struck by the truck’s cargo. The truck made it off the bridge but two vehicles went into the Skagit River and three people were rescued.

Workers now are preparing to move a temporary span into place.

Transportation Department spokesman Travis Phelps said some debris still has to be removed and divers have to make sure the bridge piers are in good shape. But in a day or two people should see portions of the temporary span extend over the water.

The 160-foot gap could be filled by next week, meeting the goal of a mid-June reopening of the freeway lanes that have been detoured since May 23.

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