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Major Construction On Its Way To The Mini-Cassia Area

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By Joey Martin

Heyburn, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Starting in 2015, motorist in the Mini–Cassia area will be dealing with two years of major roadway construction.

The project?.... Replacing both I–84 Twin Bridges spanning the Snake River, connecting Minidoka and Cassia Counties.

On Tuesday, the Idaho Department of Transportation held an open house in Heyburn to show the public what exactly the project entails.

The aptly named Twin Bridges were originally constructed back in 1960.

With minor reconstruction in 1976.

But with most bridges, a 50 year lifespan is usually it.

And 54 years later...that time is up.

That's why the ITD decided it was time for something new.

"It was more cost effective over the long term to replace the bridges at this time. The maintenance and the work that we would have done to improve the bridges would not have been cost effective at this time."
Said Nathan Jerke from the Idaho Department of Transportation.

Currently the bridges are made up of steal piers and 24 separate spans.

Making the waterway underneath the bridges a cluster of rust and steal.

"The new bridges will be only 6 piers going into the water. It will have 6 spans going across... so the river will be more open, it will be a little easier. The bridges will be raised a little bit higher over the water so it will be a little more room for free flow."
Said Jerke.

Another part of the reconstruction will be the westbound on-ramp, off of EXIT 216.

There they will widen the bridge out so motorists have more room to merge.

For a few of the residents that showed up at the open house.

Concerns were raised about the almost 2 years of continuous construction.

Along with the noise.

But for Burley resident Phillip Mai, he feels the new bridges are a must do project now.

"I think it's a good idea. I think it will make it a lot safer and having them bridges 45 feet wide instead of 34 that will be a plus too I think. I don't have a problem with them closing it off if they have to for a while but if they can keep it open I would appreciate that too."
Said Local Resident, Phillip Mai.

"What we're going to end up doing is having one way in each direction, for a little more than a mile while we move all of the traffic over to one bridge... reconstruct the other bridge and then well flip flop."
Said Jerke.

Building something new to save the taxpayers maintenance cost in the long run.

The price tag on the bridge reconstruction is a little under 30 million dollars.

Construction is scheduled to get under way in the Spring of 2015.

And it's estimated that construction should last one year for each bridge.

With total construction time lasting about two years.


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