In the shadow of the May 23 collapse of an I-5 bridge north of Seattle, an inspection report released 24 hours later revealed tears, deformations and gouges, and Washington state officials said the span had been struck by a vehicle five months before Thursday's accident.
Washington DOT spokeswoman Broch Bender confirmed that in November 2012, an over-height truck struck a metal overhead truss on the bridge, but inspection crews determined that the bridge was safe after minor repairs. The inspection report also reveals a number of other issues, including severe rust and that the bridge had been subjected to so-called "high-load" hits.
The bridge collapsed shortly after rush hour on May 23 when a truck, loaded with drilling equipment, hit the steel framework of the span. Two vehicles crashed into the river below. Three people, inside the vehicles, were not seriously injured.
Washington DOT officials said they were looking for a temporary, prefabricated bridge to replace the 160-foot section that collapsed. The replacement bridge could be in place within weeks.
The crash occured near Mount Vernon, Wash., approximately 60 miles north of Seattle.