Unsafe Chehalis Bridge Finally To Get New Lights
On December 14, 2006, the Chehalis River Bridge was not safe.
Its light poles had been ignored for years, left to rust. Their structural failure in a strong wind was inevitable. Had bridge inspectors looked, the rusting anchorage and bolts were there to be seen.
The inevitable results of the failure to inspect and to maintain the poles and anchorage were rust and structural deterioration, leaving a dangerously perilous condition for unsuspecting travelers who used the Chehalis River Bridge.
With 11 days until Christmas, Lacey Hicks drove to the South Shore Mall to buy presents. The route from Aberdeen includes the Chehalis River Bridge. As she headed south along the bridge, a huge light pole suddenly smashed through the roof and windshield of her car. The force was so great that the pole literally stopped her car in its tracks. She was trapped and badly injured. Her head had been struck by the pole-driven roof, and she went in and out of consciousness. The windshield had shattered, and there was glass everywhere. Her cheek was badly lacerated. Most importantly, the bridge pole had hit with such force that it broke her cervical spine, leaving her at risk of paralysis.
Innocent drivers and the occupants of their cars should never be subjected to a hazard of this magnitude.
Now State Rep. Brian Blake says that he's secured state funding to add more lights to the Chehalis River Bridge. As reported by the Daily World, the Mayor of Aberdeen, Bill Simpson was grateful to Rep. Blake for his persistence in getting the needed funding to make the bridge safer.
After Lacey's tragic incident on that bridge in 2006, the state removed 11 lights on the main bridge as well as three lights on the north side of the bridge. The most obvious lighting issues are on the south side of the bridge.
Lacey Hicks along with her attorneys at SKWC are thrilled that her case against the State and City of Aberdeen has made a difference.