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During the Roundtable portion of the Salmon City Council November 4 meeting, Councilman Ken Gutzman announced the Pedestrian Bridge is scheduled to be completed in a week.

In order to be in total American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance the sidewalk along Water Street now has to be rebuilt. Gutzman said the city will probably have to do the work since money for a sidewalk was not included in the bridge project funding. Having to build the sidewalk was also not included in the city’s budget however everyone agreed it has to be done so the bridge can be opened and that it has to be done immediately, before the ground freezes.

The city’s budget includes a $2500 slush fund to be used at the mayor’s discretion. The sidewalk project is estimated to cost $2800. Mayor John Miller agreed to give his entire slush fund to the sidewalk cause and turned over the job of finding the extra $300 to the council’s Finance Committee.

When the sidewalk is completed and the bridge is opened for use it will bring to an end an on-again-off again project that has taken 12 years to complete.

It all began as an idea in 1997 when the King Hill Irrigation District of Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho offered to give its historic King’s Hill Bridge to the city of Salmon. The bridge was built in 1910 to span the Snake River and it accommodated pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic. Thinking an additional way to get across the river was a needed safety measure the city accepted the offer and the search for funding began. Not long after the King Hill Bridge was dismantled and put in storage it was found the structure was no longer sound. The city’s focus then shifted to redefining the project to fit funding available for construction of a new pedestrian-only bridge. The bridge’s originally proposed location, spanning the river from Island Park to Cavanass Park, stayed the same.

In 2001 the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) agreed to approve funding and include the bridge on its 2004 construction schedule.

In November of 2007, upon review of additional costs to the city, the City Council cancelled the as-yet-to-begin project. One month later after renegotiations with ITD the project was reinstated.

Construction began in the Spring of 2008 and was halted short of completion in December of 2008 due to weather and handicapped access ramp problems. By July of 2009 efforts to correct ramp issues were progressing however the city ultimately refused to accept the work due to its still not being in compliance. In September of ’09 the Federal Highway Administration backed the city’s decision and said the ramps as built would not be eligible for federal funding since they were not ADA compliant. Work to correct the problems resumed.

Once final official approval is given to the bridge construction and the city installs the Water Street sidewalk, the Pedestrian Bridge project will at last be completed and the bridge will be opened for use.

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