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Failed Bridges In Washington's History

Last month's I-5 Skagit River bridge collapse is just one of a number of major bridge failures in Washington's history. Washington is home to four of the nation's 11 floating bridges, two of which have sunk. Here is a look at the state's highest-profile bridge failures.
Allen Street Bridge, 1923

The Allen Street Bridge in Kelso collapsed January 3, 1923, killing an unknown number of people as they returned home from work. The bridge was built in 1906 and constructed entirely of wood. Flooding and overuse were thought to be the cause. This event led to the beginnings of state and county bridge inspection programs.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 1940

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge, nicknamed "Galloping Gertie" for the way it swayed in the wind, collapsed in a windstorm November 7, 1940, just four months after it was dedicated. No human lives were lost in the collapse. The bridge was replaced in 1950, and in 2007 a parallel bridge was constructed to carry eastbound traffic, while the 1950 bridge was reconfigured to carry westbound traffic.

Klineline Bridge, 1949, 1956

The Highway 99 Klineline Bridge over Salmon Creek in Vancouver, Wash. was originally built in 1927. It collapsed in both 1949 and 1956 after a series of floods. It was eventually rebuilt in 2008. The new bridge improves fish habitats and is less susceptible to flooding.

Hood Canal Bridge, 1979

The Hood Canal Bridge is one of Washington's four floating bridges. It was built in 1961. During a windstorm that saw sustained wind speeds of 85 mph, the west half of the Hood Canal Bridge sank. It reopened October 25, 1982. Its east half was refurbished in 2009.

Lacey V. Murrow Bridge (I-90 Floating Bridge), 1990

The Lacey V. Murrow Bridge was built in 1940. Fifty years later it was renovated. That Thanksgiving a severe storm caused some of the pontoons, which were left open during renovation, to fill with water. The bridge sank slowly, allowing news crews to capture the entire sinking and broadcast it live.

Skagit River Bridge, 2013

The I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed last month after being struck by an oversized truck. A permanent fix is anticipated to be complete by September at an estimated cost of $18 million.