$11 million to be spent on future Shoshone bridge projects
Photo by Josh McDonald/ The Silver Bridge over the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River is scheduled to be fully replaced this year. The bridge has stood in place for 94 years and can only handle the weight of a standard passenger vehicle.
Local Editor | February 2, 2024 1:00 AM
KELLOGG –– More details have been made public on three future bridge replacement projects that will be taking place in Shoshone County.
An open house was previously scheduled for January 17, but was canceled due to the extreme winter weather that the area received – but the information that was to be presented at that meeting is available and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) believes that it should still be presented to the public.
The three projects are all bridges that span over the Coeur D’Alene River; Including the Bunker Avenue Bridge in Kellogg, the Two-Mile Road Bridge near Osburn, and the historic Silver Bridge near Albert’s Landing – according to the information from LHTAC, the three projects are anticipated to cost a total of $11.2 million to complete.
Taxpayers can breathe a small sigh of relief though, because the projects have been completely funded through Idaho Senate Bill 1359, commonly known as Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s Leading Idaho plan.
The Leading Idaho Plan was passed in March 2022 and was designed specifically as a state-funded program to fix older, load-restricted bridges. $400 million in state surplus dollars was allocated to the program.
All three Shoshone County projects are currently in their design phases, but the plan that was to be presented at the Jan. 17 meeting explained how at least one of them – the historic Silver Bridge project – would begin its construction phase during 2024.
Beginning in September 2024, construction of the new bridge will require a full closure of the existing roadway, which will result in traffic being detoured north to the Bumblebee Cutoff Road for anyone trying to access areas along the Old River River Road, including Albert’s Landing Campground.
The Silver Bridge project accounts for $4.9 million of the total dollars that will be spent.
In 2020, the bridge received a 2 out of 9 on its annual inspection and had its load limit reduced to 6,000 pounds – barely enough to allow an empty full-sized pickup truck to traverse it.
The urgency to finish the design and begin the construction during the 2024 calendar year is a fair demonstration of the current state of the near-century-old, single-lane bridge.
The other two projects, in Kellogg and Osburn, won’t begin until March of 2025.
“The reconstruction of these bridges will improve the safety of the local transportation network,”
Shoshone County Public Works Director Jessica Stutzke said. “And these improvements will be a huge benefit for residents and businesses alike.”