Perrine Bridge undergoes bi-annual inspection

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Crews from the Idaho Transportation Department scaled the arch of the Perrine Bridge to check for wear and tears.

Don Gorley, the bridge asset management engineer with the department, said crews have been inspecting the bridge all week.

“They’ve done a lot of night time operations with the equipment and the lighting they could use to get the portions of the bridge inspected under those conditions,” Gorley said.

He said the bridge undergoes inspections at least every two years.

“Sometimes we do special inspections. It’s a very large, complex steel bridge and so a minimum of every two years,” he said.

Crews inspected the bridge at night with a truck model called “Under Bridge Inspection Truck.” The model is a Kenworth A-62, but the crew nicknamed him Kenny, and the department rolled out a campaign called #CatchKenny.

“Catch Kenny is just an awareness campaign for people to become aware of what’s going on out there, so people can recognize us and be a little more cautious around us, so we can keep them safe and us safe,” he said.

On Thursday, crews actually scaled the arch of the bridge and took a closer look at the columns of the arch that the machine can’t reach.

“We’re inspecting the steel components on the bridge,” Gorley continued. “We’re looking for defects in the welds, cracks in the steel, corrosion, deterioration of the members. If we find anything we document it and then we go back to the office and make a plan to fix it.”

He added that crews went all the way to the foundations of the bridge and where the arches and columns tie into each other and inspected that too.

Gorley said though they are doing an inspection, the bridge is still very safe.

“The bridge has a lot of life in it and it’s very important for the public. We’re responsible for keeping it in good condition,” he said.

Very important to the public in fact, ITD said more than 27,000 vehicles on average drove over the bridge daily in 2017.

“The bridge was designed for 50 to 75-year life,” he said. “But we keep the condition so the life is always extended.”

While under the bridge, Gorley said the crew watches out for each other.

"We’re making sure that everybody is tied off and wearing the proper gear. Keeping an eye on each other so somebody doesn’t have an accident," he said.

Gorley said this is one of the more interesting bridges to inspect in Idaho.

“Especially during the day time. You’ll be working on the bridge, you’d be working on the arch and all of a sudden, some of these folks jump off the bridge and it sort of surprises you every once in a while. It’s pretty neat to see,” he explained, referring to base jumpers.

Gorley told KMVT he enjoys the views of the bridge and it’s “unique” arch.

“We love inspecting it. It’s known nationally. It’s a gorgeous view when we’re out there working and it’s an outstanding bridge,” he said.

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