Replacement of old, narrow bridge over Weiser River starts March 4; traffic impacts announced
WEISER - The replacement of a 78-year-old bridge over the Weiser River south of Weiser will begin March 4, with several significant traffic impacts, the Idaho Transportation Department announced. The work on U.S. 95 is expected to be done by the end of this year.
Traffic on the bridge during construction will be limited to a single lane, controlled by temporary signals at both ends of the structure. Drivers are reminded to use patience during reconstruction and perhaps consider an alternate route, such as Oregon State Route 201 and the U.S. 95 Spur.
Traffic volume increases on U.S. 95 on weekends, so electronic message boards, both on the side of the highway and overhead on westbound I-84, will be used to alert motorists of bridge restrictions. Crews plan to work Mondays through Fridays, but will be off the highway on weekends and holidays.
The two-lane bridge, one of 99 remaining on the state system built before 1936, will be replaced with a three-lane structure. The existing bridge has 26 feet of drivable width, but the new one will be expanded to 48. An average of 7,300 vehicles use the bridge daily. More than 100 million vehicle trips have been taken across the bridge during its lifetime.
In addition to replacing the aging bridge, crews also will reconstruct more than 650 feet of bridge approaches at the north and south ends.
The existing bridge has a sidewalk and two 13-foot lanes but no shoulders. The new bridge will have two 12-foot lanes and a 12-foot center turn lane. The project features a two-foot buffer next to the decorative bridge railing, a five-foot shoulder and a five-foot sidewalk on the west side. No bike lanes will be included in the project.
“The old bridge has lived out its life and needs to be replaced,” said David Barrett, ITD project coordinator. “The new bridge will also be as much as four feet higher in elevation than the original, which should aid in flood relief. The threat of flood is an annual occurrence each spring for the Weiser River.”
Radio stations: Click here for Barrett's sound bite.
Braun-Jensen, of Payette, is the prime contractor on the $4.8 million project.
Highway construction is one of the key forces pushing Idaho toward continued economic vitality by creating jobs, improving safety and reducing traffic congestion.