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A “Fast Track” approach to the Allen Bridge was put into place Monday, June 13, by the Lemhi County Commissioners in an effort to decrease the number of weeks a lengthy Geertson Creek detour will be required in order for Lemhi Back Road residents to reach town.

The county officially gave the go ahead to enter into a co-match agreement with LTAC (Local Highway Technical Assistance Council). The county will pay a $3,200 construction, time-frame incentive which will move the estimated bridge completion date of late November to mid-October thereby reducing the long commute by six weeks. LTAC will cover additional incentive costs. If met, the incentive will cut approximately 28 working days from the construction schedule. There is an additional reward bonus for every day the project is finished ahead of that goal. Construction on the bridge is scheduled to begin June 27.

Original 2005 plans called for repairs to the existing Allen Bridge. It was later decided that due to the extent of structural damages it could not be fixed. The decision was made to replace the bridge in 2011. The delays since then are attributed to the raft of agencies in charge of the anadromous fish swimming beneath the bridge. There are very tight fish spawning windows of time when stream work can be allowed and it has taken until a few months ago for a consensus to be reached between all the agencies claiming jurisdiction over the fishery.

The $1.2 million Allen Bridge is a 92.66 percent federally funded project. Lemhi County is responsible for the remainder and has been paying into the 7.34 percent balance for several years.

As to the previously debated location for county Mag Water storage tanks the commissioners are favoring a site at the Lemhi County Fairgrounds.

At the May 23rd commissioner’s meeting Bill Montero and Mike Overacker complained that the county’s plan to store Mag Water tanks at a rock quarry on the Moore Creek Road was a violation of the original Overacker/Lemhi County agreement for the county to use the road as an access. Even though after legal review no issues were found in the county’s using the area to store Mag Water or to the continued use of the road, the commissioners prefer a goodwill gesture.

The board asked Road and Bridge Supervisor Kerrie Cheney to obtain a cost quote for running a power line to a Mag Water storage and containment site at the Fairgrounds. The Industrial Center at the airport was also considered as a storage/containment site but dismissed as too expensive to construct due to soils at that location.

Professional Engineer Michael Kaes, of Kuna based Paragon Consulting Incorporated, described the containment facility as being 18 feet wide by 46 feet long by two feet high. The water-tight concrete enclosure will accommodate three 6,000 gallon poly tanks and be built to contain one and a half times that amount of liquid.

The construction will be put out for bid since that’s what state law requires on a project which exceeds a cost of $25,000.

The Mag Water is an ultra-pure form of magnesium chloride. It is used by the county for dirt road dust control and is therefore a seasonal need. The tanks will be empty during the Winter months.

Kaes will also be checking on replacement fuel systems for the county shop. The system being used now is outdated to the point of not being able to get parts. He explained that the new systems have the capability of tracking fuel usage by way of keyring fobs. Kaes will contact other counties using such systems for performance critiques.

The next meeting of the Lemhi County Commissioners will be June 27 in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room at the Brooklyn Annex.

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