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The Lemhi County Commissioners have scheduled an informational meeting about Rattlesnake Bridge replacement plans along with the county’s plans for a backup road access on the west side of the Salmon River. The public meeting has been set for October 8th at 6PM in the Commissioners Meeting Room of the Brooklyn Annex.

Owners of land adjacent to a proposed back road from the Rattlesnake Bridge to the Lake Creek Subdivision will be notified of the meeting by mail. All others along the Rattlesnake Bridge to Shoup Bridge route as well as the public in general will be invited to attend by way of a newspaper advertisement.

Engineer Dan Sharp of North West Engineering met with the Commissioners on Monday, September 8, to report on progress since their meeting on August 25th when Lime Creek was viewed as the favored location for a replacement bridge. Sharp said most rights-of-way issues at that location have been cleared and it is now up to the state to do a speed study on a portion of Highway 93 South where the bridge would intersect with the highway. In order to pass the range of highway visibility for safe access and egress, speed limits on that highway segment would have to be lowered from 65 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. Sharp said the highway curve in that area should have a posted 45 mile per hour designation with or without there being an entrance/exit issue. If the speed is reduced, highway entrance sight distance would be well within the 350-400 foot safety requirement. It is not within sight distance specifications at the present 65 mph speed limit. The speed study is scheduled for this week.

The second site alternative would be just down river from the present bridge location. It would be more expensive than the Lime Creek site due to the 220 foot length of span.

It is felt that liability wise the old bridge should be removed when the replacement is finished. Cost of removal would be included in the project price.

The commissioners voted to move forward with the Lime Creek location for the new bridge, contingent on results of the state’s Highway 93 South speed study and agreements between the county and landowners and the Fish and Game Department. North West Engineering will submit projected costs of being project manager which would include such things as determining the various bid options for the county to review and overseeing the bidding process. It was also verified that if the Lime Creek location is not possible the second option is to build a bridge near the old structure at Rattlesnake Creek.

The companion issue to the bridge replacement is opening an alternative emergency road access for residents on the west side of the river who are now dependent on the closed bridge. Based on cost comparisons of building a road between Rattlesnake Creek and the Iron Creek Bridge and Rattlesnake Creek to the Shoup Bridge, the most economically feasible road connection looks to be from Rattlesnake Bridge to the Lake Creek subdivision. The commissioners pointed out the new road access and bridge would also provide an alternative route in the event the Shoup Bridge had to be closed.

The county’s Transportation Plan defines its highest priority as making sure there are alternate routes in the event of bridge failure.

There are many property owners that would be directly affected by opening the old wagon trail route from the Rattlesnake Bridge north which is why the county wants to meet with them to gather input and discuss how best to accomplish the emergency road access project.

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