Washington Department of Transportation
Wash. DOT says many of Big Bertha’s cutter-head openings are clogged with dirt and debris.
The $80 million machine is designed to break up boulders, so what it hit is a mystery. It may be a huge boulder left by the last ice age. Others think it could be a buried rail car from pioneer days when the area was filled in.
The Associated Press found that the DOT regularly puts detailed warnings on its trucking permits when routes are projected to encounter potentially problematic areas of low clearance. But the Skagit bridge — along the crucial I-5 corridor between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia — was never added to that group.
A temporary bridge over the Skagit River opens Wednesday, restoring Interstate 5 traffic less than a month after the old bridge collapsed May 23 when it was struck by a truck with an oversize load.