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Bridge project funds locked in; work starts 2015

RIGGINS — Funding has been locked in and a Boise-based contractor will be carrying out the nitty-gritty details of engineering a replacement for the aging Manning Crevice Bridge, with planners pushing back the anticipated start of construction to late next summer.

The existing bridge, a bit downstream of the proposed replacement’s site, has spanned the Salmon River in a remote area 13 miles east of town since the 1930s but is deteriorating and awkward for freight traffic to cross.

But those looking for a new bridge will have to wait a bit longer.

Refurbishing a portion of the riverside road that winds out toward the site dragged on several years longer than expected even after construction began; while that road is now smooth, planning for the bridge continues to bump along. The replacement concept – a single tower suspension chosen to ease construction – has been in place since 2012, but most of the details still need to be worked out. The replacement cost has been estimated at $7-$8 million since 2012; at that time planners anticipated a contractor would be chosen in time for construction to start this year.

Now planners are saying construction could “begin in the fall of 2015 and be completed by the fall of 2016,” according to the official project website,

http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/id/manning-crevice.

Norm Klobetanz of riversandmountains.biz attended a public meeting held in Riggins in July and reported: “The local folks attending the meeting were mostly people who live upriver above the bridge, and they had many good questions. One was visibility for seeing oncoming traffic and another was concern over icing on the bridge. The engineers said visibility is good and the icing situation would be an improvement over the existing bridge with this design. Trail access up the north bank from the bridge will be preserved.”

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