MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Crews are installing a new section of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River that collapsed four months ago and hope to have the crossing open to traffic this morning.
The Washington State Department of Transportation said the temporary crossing that’s been carrying traffic in recent weeks was closed Saturday evening. Crews planned to work overnight to slide the permanent section into place and be done within 12 hours.
Travis Phelps, a DOT spokesman, said the bridge swap is a daunting task, requiring the removal of a temporary span that weighs 500 tons and the installation of a permanent span that is some 900 tons. Officials cautioned that the operation is complex and that the closure could be extended if things don’t go according to plan.
“We’re confident, but we obviously want to do this right,” Phelps said.
The crossing carries roughly 70,000 vehicles a day.
Officials have been working toward this moment since an oversize truck load hit the bridge on May 23, sending one 160-foot section and two vehicles with three people into the water. No one was killed.
Traffic was detoured for a month through Mount Vernon and Burlington until a temporary span was installed.
Man stabbed to death after soccer game
SEATTLE – Police say a man has died and a woman is in the hospital following a random stabbing in downtown Seattle.
The Seattle Police Department said Saturday that a 44-year-old man is in custody following the attack after Friday night’s Seattle Sounders game. Authorities believe the suspect is a stranger to the victims and that the attack was unprovoked.
In a description of the attack, authorities said the suspect confronted the woman and began repeatedly stabbing her in the torso with a small knife. The man attempted to intervene, and authorities say the suspect then began stabbing him in the neck and torso.
Uranium cylinder was no risk to public
LEWISTON – A depleted uranium cylinder found at a North Idaho metal workshop posed no danger to the public, but it’s unclear how the cylinder came into the company’s possession, the Environmental Protection Agency said.
Greg Weigel of the EPA told the Lewiston Tribune in a story on Saturday that a property owner cleaning a building in April found the cylinder in a box of salvaged metal at the Thomason Chemical Co. in Craigmont.
“We looked at it and determined it was depleted uranium,” Weigel said. “It was not highly radioactive, but we determined it needed to be properly taken care of.”
He said the cylinder was a small piece of metal, and that a team from the U.S. Department of Energy identified the object. Weigel said the company has no record of how it received the cylinder.
They “don’t know how they got it,” he said. “They did some metal salvaging some time ago, and this piece came in as salvaged metal. The former owner thought he’d gotten it from Hanford.”
“We call this an orphaned source because there’s no record of its background, and we don’t really know where it came from, other than it was a piece of uranium depleted metal,” he said.
Dog rescued out of fish ladder near Salem
PORTLAND – A small black dog named Jezebel is safely back home after being swept into a covered fish ladder on the Little Santiam River near Lyons, south of Salem.
The Oregonian reported the pug mix had been swimming Thursday night with her owner Shardell Bodda and friends when she got into trouble.
The Oregon Humane Society’s Barbara Baugnon said the dog somehow fit through openings meant for fish, and after being whirled through the churning water, managed to reach a calmer spot inside a concrete chamber. There Jezebel was able to hang onto an access ladder and cry for help.
The Oregon Humane Society’s Technical Animal Rescue Team arrived to help. First they had to wrestle a heavy grate over the spot where the dog was trapped. Then team member Ulli Neitch was lowered down to Jezebel on a safety harness. The team reported the dog jumped into the water when Neitch got close and swam to her rescuer, licking her face.
General wolf season opens in Montana
BILLINGS – Montana’s general wolf season opens today with much looser rules than in past years, as state wildlife officials ramp up efforts to reduce the predators’ population in response to public pressure over livestock attacks and declines in some elk herds.
Lower license fees, a five-wolf-per-person bag limit and a longer season top the list of changes put in place for the 2013-14 season.
At the beginning of 2013 Montana had 625 wolves. That was a slight drop from the prior year and the first decline since Canadian wolves were brought to the Northern Rockies in the mid-1990s as a way to bolster the population.
The number of out-of-state hunters buying licenses is up sharply this year, with 370 purchased through last this week compared to 55 at the same point last year. That comes after the Legislature reduced out-of-state licenses from $250 to $50.