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Will the I-5 bridge collapse turf Vancouver-Seattle tourism?
It's not just Memorial Day weekend, or the Sasquatch Music Festival.
Over 70,000 vehicles per day travel the stretch of the I-5 that was snuffed out by Thursday night's Skagit River bridge collapse, a major trade route for both tourism and trade between Seattle and Vancouver, as well as British Columbia, Canada, Washington, and the United States.
But, no, it's not a good time of the year for this, either.
"Just as the vacation season heats up, traffic is winding slowly along a detour in Mount Vernon, and delays could discourage visitors," wrote Michelle Dunlop of the Everett Herald. "This weekend will be telling."
The Herald – a newspaper of Sound Publishing, a Black Press division – reported that visitors to Washington's Snohomish County alone spent $875.8 million last year. Restaurants received the biggest slice of that pie, at $244.2 million.
The bridge collapse and the subsequent re-routing of traffic was handled by the Washington State Department of Transportation yesterday, whose Twitter account was busier than conceivably ever before. Travelers won't be stopped by Thursday's night bridge collapse, but their journey will take a little extra time, meaning they could be disheartened or discouraged from making the trip south.
On Friday night, Amtrak announced it plans to add a daily round trip between Seattle and Bellingham to help those who would have moved north or south on the I-5 between Burlington and Mount Vernon, Wash.
The new train service would leave early morning from Seattle and return early evening from Bellingham. Amtrak said it already has four trains each day that serve Everett and Seattle, with stops in Mount Vernon, Stanwood, and Edmonds (all in Washington).