State judged not at fault in bridge collapse caused by oversized truck

A trucking company’s attempt to shift partial blame for a bridge collapse was denied by the Washington Supreme Court.

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed in 2013 when an overhead support beam was struck by a truck carrying an oversized load. After the state of Washington sued Mullen Trucking of Aldersyde, Alberta, the company countersued and claimed that the state shared responsibility because it issued a permit for the load and had not adequately maintained the bridge.

The outer edges of the bridge’s overhead structure were 14 feet, 5 inches high while the truck and its load were 15 feet and 11 inches tall, reported the Skagit Valley Herald. The trucking company’s countersuit noted that the bridge had been deemed “functionally obsolete” and a “fracture critical bridge” and had been struck nine times prior to May 23, 2013.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that state law requires operators to exercise due care in making sure their vehicles can pass under a structure.

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