By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Bonner County Road and Bridge Director Jason Topp provided an update on the failed Dufort Road culvert at the board of county commissioners’ June 13 business meeting, notifying the board and public that crews were moving forward with plans for a new culvert to be installed at the site where a portion of the roadway collapsed earlier this month.
The county reported the culvert, located at the 5700 block of Dufort Road near Lakeshore Drive, was “failing” on June 4, and that the road had completely fallen in on June 6, causing a flood risk that necessitated excavation.
Topp said the culvert was inspected within the past three years and was determined to be in “fair” condition.
“For it to catastrophically fail caught us all off guard,” he said.
Topp said the culvert failed “at the worst time I can think of,” seeing as a dam will be required to dewater the construction area before putting in the new culvert, which is anticipated to arrive in two 50-foot pieces from Topeka, Kans., on or before Friday, June 23.
Topp said his department explored the option of a bridge to repair the failed section of Dufort, but current high demand for bridges due to the state-run Leading Idaho Local Bridge program made that alternative unfeasible.
“I’m not going to wait six or seven months for a bridge to get here,” Topp said. “We’re going to try to get this thing done as soon as possible.”
The culvert replacement project is expected to cost around $800,000 — half of that accounting for the sheet piles required to properly dam and dewater the area. While commissioners unanimously approved a grant application June 13 asking the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council for $100,000 in emergency funding through the agency’s Local Highway Improvement Program, Topp said that the bulk of the project’s cost will come out of other parts of the Road and Bridge budget, affecting the department’s ability to complete other projects planned for this fiscal year.
“It’s a hard project, and it’s right in the middle of our construction season, which we already have contractual obligations with,” he said, urging the public to be “patient.”
“Everybody is shifting gears and doing what needs to be done to get this project taken care of,” he added.
Occasional project updates are posted to the “Bonner County Road & Bridge” Facebook page.
While we have you ...
... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.
You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal