'Follow-up' inspection completed on Inkom bridge; next full inspection scheduled for summer - East Idaho News

‘Follow-up’ inspection completed on Inkom bridge; next full inspection scheduled for summer

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INKOM — The latest Idaho Transportation Department inspection of the Inkom Interstate 15 overpass bridge shows “no changes.”

According to ITD District 5 spokesman Justin Smith, a Dec. 18 inspection of the bridge reported no changes to the state of the structure, which many Inkom residents fear is due for “catastrophic failure.”

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Smith told EastIdahoNews.com, that the most recent inspection of the bridge was not a “full inspection,” but what he referred to as a “follow-up” inspection to monitor the status of the bridge.

“We just wanted to, kind of, go with the extra step — to make sure there wasn’t anything more that we had to worry about from previous inspections,” Smith said.

ITD Engineer Manager Eric Staats told Inkom residents during a Dec. 8 city meeting that bridges and overpasses are inspected every other year, until a time the bridge’s status is deemed concerning. At that time, the bridge is placed on an annual inspection schedule, with the possibility of it being inspected multiple times a year.

According to the ITD website, the Inkom bridges, built in 1962 and 1963, have shown “signs of wear” since 2017. That same year, they were designated in need of replacement.

However, the earliest those replacements will come is 2025, Staats said.

One question Staats was not able to answer at the Dec. 8 meeting had to do with the extent of the inspection. He was asked more than once if any type of ground penetrating radar or similar technology was used during the annual — and now biannual — inspections and was unable to provide an answer.

The concern voiced by many in attendance at the meeting was the rust shown on the exposed rebar. If the rust travels into the interior of the structure, several residents pointed out, it would cause serious concerns.

According to Smith, inspections are done visually. However, some tests can be done to determine if there are any structural concerns not visible on the surface.

The next “full inspection” of the bridge is scheduled for September, Smith said.