Planning for new Snake River bridge in Magic Valley put on hold

After several meetings with local government agencies regarding continued planning for a roadway corridor, the proposal to pursue another crossing of the Snake River west of Twin Falls has been discontinued, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.

In response to recommendations of the Snake River Crossing Reassessment, completed in 2008, ITD approached the Filer Highway District, Jerome Highway District, and planning and zoning departments for Twin Falls and Jerome counties to gauge the interest level of each to begin long-term corridor planning. Each was presented with a project background, findings about project needs, alternatives to alignment and funding, and additional steps should planning proceed.

In those meetings, ITD offered its support to assist the amendment process for the comprehensive transportation plans for each entity, which represented the next step to pursue long-range planning for a crossing. Although each group recognized the possible need for a future crossing, none was able to support an amendment to the transportation plans because of the limitations that would be required on private property.

The 2008 reassessment concluded that the three existing river crossings – the Perrine Bridge, Hansen Bridge and the Clear Lakes Bridge near Buhl – can accommodate the projected demand for cross-river travel through 2030, and any additional crossing would not be necessary until after that time. Additionally, the findings did not identify a source for funding or timeline for future work.

Federal Highway Administration restrictions stipulate that federal funds for additional study cannot be granted until the crossing and corresponding road sections are identified in the transportation plans for both counties and ITD's Long Range Capital Improvement and Preservation Program.

“Based on the community involvement for this proposal, ITD still believes the crossing has a future as a local route as the Magic Valley grows and its transportation needs evolve,” ITD District 4 Engineer Devin Rigby said. “However, this effectively concludes the effort to plan for a crossing at this time. It could resurface as future needs arise.”

The study concluded the crossing would not serve as a state highway but rather function as a local roadway. The corridor identified during the reassessment extends north from Pole Line Road in Twin Falls County on 2400 East Road, across the canyon to 300 West Road in Jerome County and north to Interstate 84.

Published 3-2-2012