SKAGIT VALLEY -- Officials from around the state, including U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Rep. Rick Larson, issued statements about the Skagit River Bridge collapse over Interstate 5 and how the state would move forward in the months ahead.
DelBene, a Congresswoman who represents the area where the bridge collapsed, said the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board was on a plane to the area Thursday morning. DelBene said the first step in recovery was to figure out exactly why the bridge collapsed.
"We need to understand what happened so it doesn't happen again," DelBene said.
She was not sure whether or not the bridge would be totally replaced, or if just one of the four bridge strands would be repaired. She said the bridge was rated as obsolete, but it was not inline for replacement.
"We need to move quickly to understand what happened and come up with a plan to put it back together.
Rep. Rick Larson, who is from the area, called the collapse an "absolute shock." Larson said the federal government would help with emergency relief dollars. He said it was important to get the bridge up and going, because trade, tourism and recreation would all be greatly affected.
"Look, this is a catastrophic failure for this part of the bridge," Larson said.
Larson was unsure if officials would be able to salvage any of the bridge. However, he said he hoped it was only the one strand that was a problem.
Gov. Inslee tweeted last night that United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pledged his full support in repairing the bridge. LaHood plans to release $1 million in emergency funds.