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Installing 190 foot bridge across the Salmon River to replace the old Rattlesnake Bridge will take a monstrous size crane due to the fact the project is one sided.

The new bridge location is approximately 17 miles south of Salmon on Highway 93 South and is accessible only from the east side of the river since the state has closed the existing bridge and there are no existing roads on the river’s west side or roads that could feasibly be built, large enough to accommodate the size of equipment needed. Therefore, a massive crane with a 95 foot reach is the only way to do the job.

Procuring that size crane is a key element and requires enough advance notice for companies with such equipment to work projects into their schedules.

The Lemhi Commissioners met on March 16 to open the four crane work bids that had been received. The bids ranged from $225,000 to $750,000 and were turned over to Northwest Engineering Services of Salmon for evaluation of specifications.

The engineers and commissioners met again on Monday, March 23, along with Lemhi County Attorney Bruce Withers.

The bidder selected was Mountain Crane of Rigby, Idaho, which bid $419,000. The company had met all specifications except one and that was the availability date of May 22nd. Mountain Crane’s 600,000 pound crane will not be able to be on location before the end of July. May 22 is the date when bridge builder TruNorth Steel of Missoula plans to deliver the $500,654 bridge superstructure. There will be a storage fee charged if there is an installation delay.

Withers advised taking the matter under advisement so further details could be double checked but was told that in order to be placed on the crane’s work schedule a decision had to be made immediately.

After lengthy discussion it was decided that the most essential time sensitive element has to do with getting the abutments built before high water and that the two month wait for the right crane, which will be working above river levels, will save the county $200,000. It was felt paying a storage fee would be worth the savings.

Advertisements for bids on the abutment construction work have been published and bid submissions will be opened on March 31. According to Northwest Engineering Services Transportation Lead, Jeanne Bailey, P.E. there has been a good amount of contractor interest shown in the abutment job which she expects will take about two weeks from start to finish. The construction time fits within the goal of getting equipment back and forth across the river before April 15.

The abutments will have to support the 300,000 pound bridge and before that, support the huge crane that will be lifting the bridge components into place. Two excavators and a dump truck will have to be walked across the river for construction of the west side abutments which is another reason for getting the job done before this season’s high water.

Of the four crane bids submitted Inland Crane Company of Boise was not considered eligible due to lack of providing information on the required bid specifications. The company’s lump sum bid was $225,000. JMS Crane and Rigging of Billings, Montana, supplied all the specifications and a price of $690,000. The highest bid came from NCSG Crane and Heavy Haul Services which submitted a cost of $750,000. The company does business throughout western North America.

The commissioners made and passed a motion to accept the Mountain Crane Services bid of $419,565.

The bid opening for the Rattlesnake Bridge abutment prime contractor job will be March 31 at 2PM in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room of the Brooklyn Annex

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