A bridge is shut down tonight in Jefferson County. Another in Saint Anthony will be replaced.
About two weeks ago, inspectors from Idaho's Transportation Department found a big problem with the Burgess Canal Bridge in Jefferson County.
Regional ITD spokesman Bruce King and I went underneath it to find the potential bridge failure that prompted the county to replace it. King explained how the crack could have been caused. "As traffic rolls over a bridge, there is flexing of the structure. The more flexing, the more fatigue over time, and eventually the structural components can weaken," said King. King said the fracture wasn't there when the department inspected it two years ago, adding "I think this obviously certifies the importance of regular inspections of bridge structure to ensure their safety."
The bridge on South Third West will be replaced this summer with a steel structure using local, state and federal funds. But Jefferson County isn't the only county dealing with bridge failures. Fremont County is replacing the Del Rio bridge in St. Anthony.
"It's 80 years old and obviously its received an awful lot of wear, and there is certainly structural fatigue there and the bridge right now is structurally deficient," said King.
Details about the new bridge are limited, but ITD says it will use money from the federal and state taxation of gasoline.
The Jefferson County bridge project has closed a few roads in Rigby. A portion of North 3900 East and South Third West are closed. The roads will re-open this summer. Roads in Saint Anthony haven't been affected so far.