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Work has begun on construction of the new Rattlesnake Bridge located approximately 16 miles south of Salmon.

Road and Bridge Supervisor Kerrie Cheney told Lemhi County Commissioners Rick Snyder and Ken Miner Tuesday, October 13, that Dan Davis of Road and Bridge has been in attendance at the site almost every day and reporting on the progress. Bureau of Land Management personnel are also monitoring the construction.

The massive crane that will be lifting the bridge structure into its position across the Salmon River has arrived and is on site. Cheney said it took from six to eight loads to transport all the crane segments. He said a loader and some other materials will be driven through the river in order to do the west side bridge abutment work.

He said a temporary bridge will be installed to about half way across the river and will act as a work platform. The reason such a large counter balanced crane is necessary is that this project is one sided. There is no way to get the heavy equipment required for the project to the river’s west side.

Due to its size when in operation the crane, with its tremendous reach, will at times block Highway 93 South traffic lanes. Commissioner Chairman Snyder asked that the Sheriff’s Department be notified in advance of any needed road closures.

The river will be closed to boaters for a brief period when the actual bridge installation takes place. Cheney said the closures as well as take out and put in points are being coordinated with river users. He added that that portion of the river does not have much float boat traffic.

Cheney is checking on costs of removing the existing 100 year old bridge which was condemned by the state in July of last year. The bridge across that section of river provides access to property owners on the west side of the Salmon River as well as to Twin Peaks Ranch, the Twin Peaks mine and public lands beyond the mine.

Moving on to the next bridge project it was announced that of the five bids received on constructing a new Allen Bridge one bid was determined to be ‘irregular’ and was therefore disqualified. The lowest of the four other bids received was $826,740 from Cannon Builders. The cost was 34 percent over the engineer’s estimate. In a communication from the Local Technical Assistance Council (LTAC) the county was told that if all the bids were rejected and the project was re-bid, Idaho Transportation Department would require that substantial changes be made to the original plans and specifications. LTAC said this is a small project and there are no promising design alterations that would reduce costs.

It was pointed out this is the third time in a row engineers have underestimated bridge costs. First was the under estimation of costs on the first Rattlesnake Bridge design, then came the Island Park Bridge where costs were underestimated by almost 150 percent and now the Allen Bridge.

It was determined it would be a waste of money to go through putting the Allen Bridge project out for bid again so the county will look for ways to fund the current bid price.

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