Dover Bridge facts

It was labeled one of the country's most pressing structural needs iby a national magazine and received one of the lowest marks possible for a bridge. That was the old Dover Bridge. Today, Northern Idaho residents of Dover enjoy a new, modern structure. Here in lists form, is the evolution of a new bridge:

U.S. 2
• U.S. 2 is part of the National Highway System
• The Dover Bridge was the most restrictive bridge on U.S. 2 through Idaho.
• U.S. 2 is the major East-West connection for northern Idaho to Washington and the west coast, and Montana and points east
• Traffic counts on U.S. 2 have increased more than 75% over the last 20 years
• U.S. 2 is an important commercial truck route
• Tourists and vacationers rely on highway for connections throughout Bonner County, including major recreational areas such as Priest Lake
• Local traffic relies on highway for work, school, recreation
• Public Safety (EMS, Fire, Police) highway and bridge provides the key link for these services

Old Dover Bridge
• Constructed in 1937
• Two 12-foot lanes, no shoulders
• Essentially one lane bridge when trucks or school buses were travelling on it
• Sufficiency rating of 3 on a scale of 100
• Bridge restrictions included width, height, and 25 mph speed limit
• Emergency repairs done on the bridge in 1994, 1999, and 2007
• An emergency with the bridge would have created a severe impact to commerce and public safety
• If the bridge closed – there would have been a 52-mile detour
• Featured in Popular Mechanics as “one of the country’s 10 worst examples of infrastructure”
• Featured on the History Channel program “Crumble”

New Dover Bridge
• Construction started in 2009
• Cost $22 million funded primarily from federal stimulus funds
• Contractor was Sletten Construction, Great Falls, Montana
• 72 feet wide, four lanes
• Will provide for future expansion of U.S. 2
• Project includes a pedestrian/bike path

Additional considerations
Dover Bridge is illustrative of a larger problem facing Idaho
• 369 of Idaho's bridges were built prior to World War II
• Those bridges are now between 60 and 90 years old and in need of replacement
• These bridges will require funding for maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction and replacement

Published 11-2-2012