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Professional Engineer Stephen Freiburger of Paragon Consulting, Incorporated addressed the Salmon City Council on April 20 and explained the steps that have been taken to date on the possibility and the need for a second access bridge across the Salmon River.

He said he has worked on the countyís Transportation Plan and has been tasked with finding potential funding for Transportation Plan priorities such as an alternate bridge. His search found a competitive national program called Tiger Grants. Tiger stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

Research into a second bridge has shown that one potential location would require approximately .6 of a mile in road improvements and a 375 foot long 36 foot wide bridge. Freiburger said a very rough preliminary estimate of construction cost is $7.7 million. He said no one is looking for that to happen any time soon but both the county and the city have identified the need for a second bridge access across the river as a priority.

He said an interesting element in Tiger Grants is that the project for which funds are being sought has to be of regional significance. Freiburger commented there is no question that a disruption of traffic flow over the present Main Street Bridge would have profoundly significant regional ramifications since that bridge is part of US Highway 93, a major artery for goods, services and traffic flows throughout the US as well as North and South America.

Freiburger took the information to Lemhi County Road and Bridge Supervisor Kerrie Cheney and asked if the county would be interested in working with Paragon in identifying a bridge site and developing enough information to pursue future grant opportunities.

The first meeting between city and county officials and staffs along with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) was held March 21. Freiburger said the ITD is very interested in the project and is willing to participate financially if the city and county can provide the needed preliminary information. A second bridge would make the departmentís future work on the Main Street Bridge much easier. At the March meeting it was decided that first there needs to be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city, county and ITD. A second joint meeting was held April 11.

Freiberger said Phase I will include determining property availability, getting the publicís input, identifying issues and developing a statement of need. Freiburger thinks Phase I will take about three months and cost between $10 and $15,000.

Phase II will take about a year and will concentrate on making everything ready for grant applications. Freiberger told the council he foresees it will take from two to three years to secure funding and another one to three years for planning, design and construction. All in all he said the project will take from five to ten years to complete.

City Community Development Coordinator Mary Cerise said she is in the process of obtaining a sample MOU of city/county agreements in other areas. The council decided there should be research into the legal process of each entity having a vote when the city and county meet jointly. It was also decided that there needs to be another joint meeting.

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