Work began Monday to clean debris out of the Skagit River after a section of Interstate 5 collapsed into the water last Thursday.

A crane on a barge pulled a trailer out of the water early Monday morning and it was expected to remove a car and pickup truck later in the day.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said the operation will be done carefully due to uncertainty over the stability of the wreckage.

An excavator will start cutting into the mangled steel Monday. It acts like a giant pair of scissors, but WSDOT says there is still a lot of pressure on the steel, so the right pieces need to be cut for safety.

Drivers have started getting used to the new detours around the I-5 closure, but WSDOT is advising that anyone going through the area should plan to add at least an extra hour to their trip.

A temporary replacement bridge is expected to be installed as early as mid-June. The four lanes will be narrower and the speed limit will be reduced. No oversized vehicles like the one that triggered the collapse will be allowed on the temporary bridge.

Read or Share this story: