State surplus could mean local bridge improvements

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution May 24 that signaled the county’s interest in taking part in the state’s Leading Idaho Local Bridges program — a $200 million investment meant to improve bridges across Idaho considered to be in “poor condition,” according to Bonner County Road and Bridge staff engineer Matt Mulder.

The program, administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, allows local jurisdictions to nominate up to half of their worn down bridges for repair. In Bonner County, Mulder said, that means five bridges are being nominated, including a bridge on Grouse Creek Road over Grouse Creek; Rapid Lightning Bridge No. 4, over Rapid Lightning Creek; Eastshore Road over Hunt Creek; and two bridges on Colburn Culver Road over Grouse Creek and Pack River.

Mulder said he selected the five bridges “based on their condition and what I believe is their ability to score competitively in the program.”

“Some of these only need repairs. Some of them could potentially be replaced completely,” Mulder told commissioners. “Ultimately, those decisions will be made through the process as LHTAC figures out how to most economically spend these funds and get the most bang for the buck.”

There are about 400 bridges considered to be in “poor condition” around the state, Mulder said, and the Leading Idaho Local Bridges initiative is aiming to repair or replace about one-third of them using the $200 million in surplus funds. 

The resolution approved May 24 served to let LHTAC know about Bonner County’s interest in the program, and if any of the five local bridges are chosen, the work will not require any funding match from the county.

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