Idaho County has entered into a new agreement for more work on the Salmon River Road, which leads out to the new Manning Crevice Bridge, where construction continues. Pictured is road construction on the north approach to the bridge included in the Oct. 27 Manning Crevice Bridge project newsletter, which is online at https://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/id/manning-crevice/.
As of Tuesday, October 31, 2017
RIGGINS Idaho County has entered into an agreement with Idaho Transportation Department for an estimated $897,000 in new work on the Salmon River Road. The agreement is for work intended to reduce ongoing maintenance costs, which were a sticking point in 2016, during negotiations over whether the county or the federal government would have to pay for the reconstructed road’s upkeep.
An estimated $66,000 local share has been paid toward the new project, and the front money allows the county to tap into federal funding as an “Idaho Transportation Investment Federal-Aid Project.” In the official documents, which are public record, the project is called the Salmon River Road Rock & Debris Fall Mitigation.
The agreement pegs the federal share of the estimated costs at a bit less than 93 percent of the total.
Construction costs described in the project development agreement are estimated at $567,000, to follow $330,000 in project development and construction engineering costs.
This agreement, on which the Idaho County Commissioners signed off Oct. 24, follows from a July 2016 MOU (“memorandum of understanding”) between the state, the county, LHTAC (“Local Highway Technical Assistance Council”) and the Western Federal Lands Highway Division.
The Salmon River Road was reconstructed and paved as part of an older federal project, and one of the main issues the commission weighed prior to approving the 2016 MOU was whether the county ought to accept responsibility for ongoing maintenance of the road. According to the June 2016 minutes, the county had estimated the maintenance costs at about $25,000 a year before the reconstruction and $52,000 a year afterward.
On Monday, Oct. 30, Mike Cook – who with the commission’s blessing shepherded the 2016 MOU to its conclusion – told the Free Press the spike in maintenance costs during the time shortly after the reconstruction was mainly due to freshly-exposed material frequently sliding onto the roadway. Some of that slide activity has slowed, he said, but there are still areas where the rockfaces exposed during the reconstruction can be better stabilized. The county has established rockfall catchments in some places where jersey barriers help keep slide material from entering the roadway, and Cook said those catchments need to be cleaned out from time to time in order to remain effective.
The new project – which is conceptual and not yet concrete – may provide for establishing a “wear surface” to clad the blacktop, and may also provide for repairs in places where the road surface has already been damaged by rockfall.
Cook said the local share of the upfront cost was paid by the Forest Service.