Monday, December 10, 2018
Big Wood Bridge Wins National Award
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This picture shows the wildlife corridor underneath the dark pickup truck.
 
Friday, October 12, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Wood River Bridge project near Sun Valley has won the highest honor that state departments of transportation can receive.

The Idaho Transportation Department has won the President's Transportation Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials.

ITD won the Environment Award for the Big Wood River Bridge Project that replaced the bridge south of Hailey last fall. The award focuses on the wildlife passage tunnels ITD created on both ends of the bridge to reduce vehicle-animal crashes.

After consulting with Idaho Department of Fish & Game, ITD built passages 33 feet wide under the bridge to maximize their attractiveness to animals. Too narrow and animals likely would not have used them because they would have felt vulnerable to predators. The tunnels were built 13 feet tall to accommodate large animals, such as elk.

The bridge also added additional lanes on top for human users to improve traffic flow around slower recreational vehicles heading through Ketchum to mountain recreation areas. The additional lanes were also designed to abet better traffic flows of large truck heading to Sun Valley Resort and Ketchum.

The 300-foot four-span bridge, dedicated in September 2017, features art representing aspen leaves, a snow fence, a river and other aspects of life in Sun Valley.

Additionally, ITD won a president's award in the planning category for replacing 17 bridges under one contract, saving $1.7 million and about 17 years.

ITD jointly collected data on bridge alignment, subsurface, stability, right of way footprint and hydraulic property for bridges needing improvement in eastern, south-central and southeast Idaho.

That method saved about $100,000 per bridge compared to a bridge-by-bridge method. All told, the project bid came in $3 million under estimates.

The awards were handed out at AASHTO’s annual conference held recently in Atlanta, Ga.

“The key to ITD achieving our vision to become the best transportation department in the country is building strong partnerships within our organization and in the communities across Idaho,” said Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness. “Both of these awards are the result of developing vital collaborations and using innovative ways to better serve our citizens and the traveling public.”

 

 

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