Debtors Dilemma Discusses Washington Bridge Collapse and Toll on Memorial Day Travelers

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After a major bridge collapses in Washington, Debtors Dilemma gives their cautions about the collapse and the effect on travelers this holiday weekend.

I cannot help but wonder who will pay for this costly repair. Will Washington be able to foot the bill, or will they need to turn to the federal government for financial help?

On Thursday, a major thoroughfare between Washington and Canada was taken out by a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load. On May 24, 2013, CNN reported that the 18-wheeler smacked one of the bridges overhead trusses and caused the bridge to collapse. Debtors Dilemma is grateful that there were no fatalities from this accident. The traumatic event did leave three injured and caused a great deal of costly damage. Along with the cost of repairs there will be lost opportunity cost as the closed bridge will affect the area’s economy and residents’ travels.

The 58 year old bridge, which stretches 160 feet over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon, was reported to be structurally sound, but had been labeled as “functionally obsolete”. This label is defined by being too narrow or not high enough. The Associated Press reports that federal records lists the bridge with a sufficiency rating of only 57.4 out of 100. The state average is 80. In November of last year the bridge suffered a similar impact. According to reports, the bridge was hit by an oversized truck and sustained damage that was added to the list of repairs need and the bridge was still determined as safe for use by the inspection crew.

In the first mentioned CNN article, Washington Governor Jay Inslee stated that the bridge repair would cost approximately $15 million. The Senior Editor of Debtors Dilemma is quoted saying, "I cannot help but wonder who will pay for this costly repair. Will Washington be able to foot the bill, or will they need to turn to the federal government for financial help?" In March, CNN reported on President Obama’s plan for infrastructure improvement which would cost $21 Billion. They cited a report by The American Society of Civil Engineers saying the US infrastructure system had a "significant backlog of overdue maintenance" and a "pressing need for modernization." With the current financial trouble of the US government with a debt of over $16 trillion where will funding for infrastructure projects come from?

The cost to repair the bridge is not the only cost involved. Debtors Dilemma foresees there were also be a significant impact on the businesses and economy of the area, especially this weekend. The Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends for Americans. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation approximately 71,000 vehicles travel the affected stretch of Highway 5 each day and on a busy holiday weekend that number would be significantly greater. Many of those travelers will have to find alternate routes to their destination, change their destination, or perhaps cancel their weekend plans to avoid the traffic congestion and longer travel times. The DOT suggests travelers plan ahead and lists alternate methods of travel across the Skagit River on their site including the railway, ferries, and detour roadways.

This Memorial Day weekend travelers in the Mount Vernon area will be greatly affected by the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge. Debtors Dilemma foresees a great impact on travelers as well as businesses in the area while costly repairs for the bridge are planned and completed.

About Debtors Dilemma:
DebtorsDilemma.com is an informational site for those wanting to learn about overcoming financial debt.

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