Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter will lead a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday (July 22) at 11 a.m. (PDT) in Dover for the long-awaited replacement of a dangerous bridge - a project that will create jobs, stimulate economic activity and improve motorist safety.
Popular Mechanics and The History Channel consider the 72-year-old Dover Bridge one of the worst in America. The bridge on U.S. 2 has a sufficiency rating of 3 on a scale of 100 and is a safety risk and a commercial bottleneck on one of the major east-west routes in northern Idaho.
The narrow, restricted bridge over railroad tracks will be replaced with a five-lane structure, 72-feet wide, and 1,200 feet long. The $21.6 million project is funded with federal stimulus money and is projected to sustain or create approximately 400 jobs.
"For too long the Dover Bridge has been a safety threat to our citizens and restricted the economic growth of northern Idaho," Governor Otter said. "While in Congress, I supported dedicating $3 million in federal bridge funds to help build a new structure. I am pleased we are finally replacing this bottleneck, improving safety and creating jobs."
Popular Mechanics listed the bridge as one of the 10 worst examples of the country's deteriorating structures in the magazine's May 2008 edition .
The Dover Bridge is featured in The History Channel series "The Crumbling of America" currently airing nationwide:
The Idaho Transportation Department first started working on replacing the bridge in 1979, but the project was not constructed because of funding limitations.
The ceremony will be held below the Dover Bridge near the corner of Railroad Avenue and Mill Street. Signs will be posted on U.S. 2 east and west of the bridge guiding those attending the ceremony. The City of Dover will also be holding a reception prior to the groundbreaking ceremony at the Dover City Hall that morning.
Joining the governor as speakers will be State Senator John McGee, State Representative George Eskridge, State Senator Shawn Keough and Director of the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation Karl Dye.
Construction will begin in late July or early August and is expected to be complete by fall 2011. Sletten Construction of Great Falls, Mont., is the apparent lower bidder at $21.6 million.