There are thousands of bridges in Idaho and many of us cross them every day without thinking twice about their safety. However, there are a few bridges that you might want to avoid.
The safety and durability of our nation’s bridges is measured with a "sufficiency rating.” The rating varies from a best score of 100 and goes all the way down to 0. A score below 80 indicates that some rehabilitation may be needed, while a score of 50 or less shows that replacement may be in order.
The I-35 W Bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis was given a low "sufficiency rating," of 50. According to the 2010 Census, out of Idaho’s 4,132 bridges, 373 were “structurally deficient” while 414 were categorized as “functionally obsolete”.
Pocatello has two bridges that are in desperate need of repair or even replacement. The old Cheyenne Bridge is so bad that it appears the city doesn’t even add that to their bridge average when calculating their overall sufficiency rating.
Like in this statement that refers to the Lewis Street Bridge project.
“This structure has a sufficiency rating of 49.4, whereas the average rating of all bridges in Pocatello (minus the old Cheyenne Bridge) is 75.6. The concrete abutments, joints, steel beams, concrete deck, and curbs are in fair to poor condition. This structure crosses the Portneuf River and is a main connector between the west bench and the east side of Pocatello.”
To the city’s credit, they have plans to replace both the Lewis Bridge and the Cheyenne Bridge in the near future. The city has already received a $1.17 million grant to replace the Lewis Street Bridge which requires a 7.34 percent match.
You can learn more about this project at Thursday’s city council meeting which is scheduled to start at 6:00 in the evening.
Pocatello City Council Agenda
Pocatello Bridge Data from City-Data.com
Lewis Street Bridge Project
Cheyenne Overpass Project
2010 Census Bridge Data