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Here’s why completion of U.S. Highway 20 construction project has been delayed


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Lorenzo Bridge on U.S. Highway 20 | File photo, April 2019

RIGBY – Traffic delays on U.S. Highway 20 between Rigby and Rexburg have been a daily part of many people’s commute for the last several months, and now the Idaho Transportation Department is asking for your patience for a little longer.

Road construction on the Lorenzo Bridge began in May. Crews have been busy on the project all summer, but Megan Stark, an ITD spokeswoman, tells contractor complications and additional repairs on the westbound side of the bridge will delay the project’s completion.

“Crews are going to be paving the approaches on the eastbound side of the bridge,” Stark says, referring to the 50 to 100 feet of road before the bridge. “Once they’re done with that, they’re going to replace all the guardrails and the bridge rail.”

RELATED | North, south, east, west — which direction does U.S. Highway 20 really run?

Repairs to the eastbound side are expected to be completed by early November.

Stark says the bridge passed its last inspection, but additional repairs will need to be made to the bridge rail on the westbound side due to a new height requirement put in place during the project.

“(Work crews) had to get parts fabricated to raise the height of that bridge rail. It was going to take longer. The project manager decided to get the rest of the bridge done so we didn’t waste any more time,” says Stark.

The new height standard requires them to raise the bridge rail more than 5 inches from 2 feet, 2 inches and seven-eighths to 2 feet, 8.5 inches.

Now that parts have been fabricated, the eastbound side will be completed to meet the new height requirement. But crews will have to go back and adjust the bridge rail on the westbound side.

RELATED | ITD begins work on the Lorenzo Bridge. Here’s an in-depth look at the project from start to finish.

The project was originally scheduled for completion in September, but the new height requirement will result in completion being delayed until mid-November.

ITD is still working out a traffic plan for the westbound side, but Stark says there will likely be more traffic delays while they make those adjustments.

“We apologize for the delays,” Stark says.

The total cost of the project is about $2 million.