A project that spanned two construction seasons to restore historic Rainbow Bridge to its more celebrated appearance was completed this week, removing traffic restrictions in one of Idaho 55's most scenic areas.
Both lanes of the bridge were open Tuesday (Sept. 11), following the meticulous facelift to the arched structure. Work began in 2006 on the arch piers, floor beams, deck joints and columns. Construction crews replaced the bridge rails this spring and summer.
The primary goals of the project were to preserve the historical qualities of the bridge and ensure traffic safety during construction. Exposure to the elements over the past 74 years caused the bridge to deteriorate. The structure´s rails were severely pockmarked and the deck was uneven.
Built in 1933, it remains a monumental achievement in Idaho bridge construction history, reflecting leading-edge engineering at the time. It exemplifies a conscious effort to meld a modern structure with a picturesque natural setting. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge´s enduring popularity among residents and travelers alike is a tribute to its design. The open-spandrel concrete arches stretch 410 feet across the North Fork of the Payette.
It is the largest single-span concrete arch structure in Idaho.
bridge was designed by Charles A. Kyle, the first chief bridge engineer
for the Idaho Department of Highways. Construction began in July 1933
and was completed in December, six months later. C.C. Dinsmore &
Co. of Ogden, Utah, built the bridge. Mowat Construction Co. was the
contractor on the $2.9 million renovation project.