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Temporary fix allows Skagit bridge to re-open

A portion of the Interstate 5 bridge is submerged after it collapsed into the Skagit River in Mount Vernon, Wash., Thursday, May 23, 2013.

Rick Lund/AP

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State will re-open on Wednesday, less than one month after its collapse, with the installation of a temporary span.

"We're now in the final stretch of safely reopening the bridge and restoring access for those vising and doing business in Skagit County," Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement issued Tuesday. "I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen and those who have been patient to see it through."

The speed limit for the bridge, located in Mount Vernon, will temporarily be reduced to 40 mph from 60 mph, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Each direction of the span will be reduced to two 11-foot lanes, with one-foot shoulders, from 12-foot lanes with three-foot shoulders. All oversized or overweight trucks must continue using the existing detour routes.

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A span of the bridge, which is a major thoroughfare connecting B.C. and Washington State, collapsed on May 23 after a truck driver struck a support beam with an oversized load. Three people, including a University of B.C. student, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Max J. Kuney Construction has been awarded a $6.87-million (U.S.) contract to build a permanent fix for the bridge, which is expected to be ready for installation in September, according to WSDOT.

About 70,000 motorists use the bridge daily.

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Based in Vancouver, Andrea Woo is a general assignment reporter with a focus on multimedia journalism. More

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