Canadian shoppers lacking after I-5 bridge failure

BELLINGHAM — The number of Canadian shoppers plummeted in parts of western Washington after the May collapse of an I-5 bridge near Mount Vernon.

The Bellingham Herald reported that border policy researchers at Western Washington University have been observing the number of Canadian and U.S. vehicle license plates at various points along the I-5 corridor. The research began before the Skagit bridge collapse to get a better understanding of Canadian shopping activity in the region.

A license plate survey done in June after the bridge collapse found that the proportion of Canadian plates at a Costco in Marysville dropped by 80 percent compared to March. Five of the six retail areas that were surveyed south of the Skagit bridge saw a decrease of more than 40 percent.

David Davidson at the university’s Border Policy Research Institute said the survey provides a snapshot on what happens when a key piece of transportation infrastructure is disrupted.

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