Historic steam shovel destined for new home at Headquarters

For as long as many people can remember, it called the busy Boise intersection of Broadway Avenue and Myrtle Street home. It lives in the shadow of a monolithic six-story concrete building.

But in the near future, a 125,000-pound steam shovel that once served as the muscle of many highway construction projects, will pack up and head for a new residence – in front of the ITD Headquarters building on State Street.

Morrison-Knudsen Co., an engineering and construction company once based in Boise, displayed the steam shovel at its corporate complex at 400 E. Park Blvd. It remained there through the company’s transition to Washington Group International, and most recently to URS Corp.

Interested in reshaping its grounds, URS earlier this year offered to donate the road-building equipment to ITD. For the past week, workers from Alpine Construction have been preparing a site on ITD’s 44-acre campus to create a home for the equipment and preserve the rich history behind it.

“We’re thrilled to have something of this historical significance on permanent display at ITD,” said Kathy Chase, manager of Business and Support Management. “It is a rare opportunity to be able to preserve this important part of transportation history.”

When preparations are complete, Inland Crane will transport it at no cost to a new concrete pad next to the main Headquarters entrance. The pad is 30 feet by 40 feet, and is 12 inches thick in places. A three-foot railing will wrap around the slab, which will be lighted for safety and security.

Information about its role in Idaho’s road-building history will be published in The Transporter closer to the move date.

Published 1-6-2012