BOISE, Idaho (News Release) – Foreman Gene Anderson and his three-man crew leveraged creation of a sliding girder installer to complete repairs to the 56-year-old Interstate 90 Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge in just three weeks this spring, saving about $161,000 and shaving three months off the closure.

Photo courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department

The work was recognized with a department Excellence in Transportation award Nov. 17 in the Maintenance and Operations category, and the sliding girder innovation was also named one of ITD’s Best of the Best for 2016 innovations in the Economuc Opportunity category in late October.

The repairs extended the life of the bridge to safely serve area drivers (approximately 22,000 each day) until the bridge can be fully replaced. Reducing the duration of the closure allowed general traffic to resume using the bridge much sooner, and also benefited local law enforcement and emergency responders, who use the bridge as a critical conduit into the homes and businesses of that neighborhood.

ITD’s crew completed these repairs at a cost of $39,000 (most of that was steel) compared to the estimated $200,000 it would likely have cost a contractor to do the same work. The repairs also addressed needs of heavy truck traffic, nearby residents and school children.

This innovation, and the resulting repairs, allowed the department to meet the needs of local businesses, which rely on the bridge for deliveries. The bridge also allows access to a subdivision and residents in the area.

As the only route under the freeway, school children in the area traveled under the bridge to get to Fernan STEM Academy, a kindergarten-through-fifth grade elementary school serving about 450 students. The school is half a block south of the bridge.

ITD crewmembers stopped work and escorted the children walking or bicycling past the work zone each morning and evening. Crews worked Monday through Thursday, and the site reopened each weekend to unrestricted use.

“The repair utilized innovation to meet a critical driver safety need in the area, satisfy local commerce and residents, and save significant money for the Idaho Transportation Department, which also means savings for taxpayers,” said District Business Operations Manager Scotty Fellom.