Big news for the 6th Street Bridge

WALLACE — It’s a good/bad news situation for Wallace’s 6th Street Bridge, or at least that’s how it was presented to the Wallace City Council last week.

The bridge, which provides access from downtown Wallace to Ninemile Canyon and Dobson Pass, has been subject to weight restrictions for nearly five years — and has hosted a temporary bridge over it for nearly four years.

Several plans to repair the bridge have been made over the years, but for whatever reason (busy construction schedules, funding opportunities, a global pandemic), the project date never stood still.

The good news is that the Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) said they could have the bridge built in the coming year.

The project is expected to cost around $1.8 million, but due to different state and federal government and other agency matching programs — Wallace may actually pocket some cash at the end of the project.

The bad news, however, is that the city will incur some upfront costs that they didn’t plan for.

After all those various grants, matches, and other funds, Wallace envisioned a $12,000 bill for a $1.8 million project, according to City Engineer Jim Roletto.

Due to late timing, one of the pots of money they intended to use to get that $12,000 dried up, leaving the city with a balance of about $54,000 (more or less a few dollars).

To get the project off the ground, that $54,000 must be paid in advance before work begins.

Remember this is the bad news.

Getting back to the good news part, Roletto explained how the city might be able to match the upfront costs and still come out on top.

“We have a bridge out there right now, and we’re going to use it during construction,” Roletto explained of the current temporary structure. “We have found a buyer for this bridge — Shoshone County will buy this bridge because Shoshone County has a bridge project underway and they will likely use this bridge on Bullion Creek.”

As part of Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s Leading Idaho plan, several bridge projects were selected to receive full funding – including the aforementioned Bullion Creek project in Shoshone County’s Moon Pass region.

“LHTAC, the group that is funding this project (along with the county), very much hopes you move forward with this and will guarantee this payment through Shoshone,” Roletto told the council.

Roletto believes the city could earn at least $75,000 by selling the temporary bridge to the county — but believes the amount could be even higher as everything continues to rise in price.

“$75,000 is a low estimate on my part,” Roletto said. “I (recently) bid on a bridge similar to this one down in Benewah County that cost $110,000. Ours is a few years old.”

Should the market value continue to rise, the city could demand a larger number, and if an agreement is reached, LHTAC has committed to foot the bill.

The city has already committed $7,000 to the project, so they will need the other $47,000 to get the project off the ground.

As soon as this check is in the right hands, the project is put out to tender.

Roletto had previously promised Wallace Mayor Lynn Mogensen that the bridge would not cost the city anything, and if they sold the temporary bridge, not only would he have kept his promise, but the city would have made some money as well.

“We’re in a pretty good place here,” Roletto said.

After the presentation of Roletto, the council made a motion to move forward with the project on the condition that it be completed next year.

Roletto understands that if the project is put out to tender next month, there is a possibility that the project can start in spring 2023 (weather permitting).

After completion of the project, the temporary bridge can be sold.


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