Barges coming to remove bridge wreckage from Skagit River

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash.-- Barges started coming down the Skagit River Saturday night with heavy cutting and lifting equipment, including a crane, to begin removal of the collapsed I-5 bridge section south of Burlington.

Atkinson Construction is the company that's been hired by the Washington Department of Transportation to remove the vehicles and wreckage in the river below.

Divers will go in the river Sunday night to mark areas and clearly identify how the pieces will be removed and in what order, said Kris Olsen of WSDOT.

All the barges are expected to be in place by 10 p.m. Sunday, she said. Demolition could begin after midnight.

Crews must remove the fallen span from the river before final inspections of the bridge and piers can be completed, according to WSDOT.

Once the inspections are complete, WSDOT engineers can begin designing a preferred option for repairing the bridge,

It's still unknown how soon I-5 will reopen to traffic.

Meanwhile, a short piece of surveillance video from a nearby car dealership may help determine how and why the span collapsed.

It shows the semi with the oversize load driving onto the bridge and it appears to strike an overhead girder--soon after the roadway starts to fall.

The camera cuts out before the bridge splashes into the river---but the video is another piece of evidience that might explain how and why, which is the job of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NSTB's leader Debbie Hersman says her investigators interviewed the driver of the truck.

They are also making arrangements to interview the driver of the pilot car, who plays a critical role in safety.

"The pilot car is supposed to travel far enough ahead so they can radio of any hazards or obstacles," Hersman said.