T-Shirts Poke Fun at Bridge Collapse

By Sara Lerner - KUOW

Mid-June:  that’s how soon residents may see a temporary fix to the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River near Mount Vernon, Washington. It collapsed last week when a truck hit an overhead support beam.  Two vehicles fell into the river, but no one was seriously injured. It is a serious situation – but in the aftermath, one t-shirt company is throwing a little fun into the mix. 

Jessica Lynch is a local. She lives on Guemes Island right by Anacortes, and owns a screenprint t-shirt company and she’s been selling a Skagit River bridge shirt for years.

She loves bridges, so she made an artsy, cute drawing of a bridge truss. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives states a report card on their infrastructure.  Washington state got a C minus this year for its bridges: a fact widely reported on over the last week.

When Lynch heard that – hours after the collapse - she laughed. She immediately thought of her bridge t-shirt.

Lynch: "I’m like heck let’s burn a new screen and put a c minus on it and slap it on the front and we’ll print em to order."

She had her bridge shirt with a brand new C minus stamped on top of it for sale on her website less than 24 hours after the collapse.

She thought she might sell six shirts, maybe a dozen. Nope: 200 and counting.

While the bridge is down, traffic is being detoured off of I-5 and onto smaller highways, right through nearby towns.  Lynch says her initial idea was to give her neighbors a chuckle.

Lynch: "It effects so much of us more who live here and just want to go to Costco. It’s a big deal having all these people driving through here. It was more, trying to just put smile on our faces when we’re sitting in a traffic jam."

If anyone had been seriously hurt, she says she would never have made the shirt.  And as for the state’s temporary fix to the bridge: will she be comfortable driving over it?

Lynch jokes that she’s eager to see what grade it gets.

"C-Minus" T-shirts: http://www.slowshirts.com/product/c-skagit-bridge-shirt-15

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