Girder work continues on Dover Bridge

DOVER — Girders will be the focus of wintertime work on the new U.S. Highway 2 bridge.

“The plan right now is to start placing the girders on Monday,” said Ed Florence of David Evans & Associates, design consultant for the new Dover Bridge.

So far, six of the bridge’s 77 girders have been erected. Florence expects all the girders to be in place by mid-to-late February. Sletten Construction is the project’s lead contractor.

“It goes pretty quickly. Delivery is the slow part. The setting is going to go pretty quickly,” said Florence.

The girders are being shipped by rail from Oklahoma. The Idaho Transportation Department initially planned to stockpile girders at the McFarland pole yard in Sandpoint, but Florence said there’s not enough room.

As a result, incoming girders at the pole yard are being transferred to a Pend Oreille Valley Railroad train and transported to Oldtown, where they’re loaded onto tractor-trailers and driven to the project site.

The largest girders on the project are nearly 125 feet long. The largest span between the bridge piers is about 206 feet, according to Florence.

M.A. DeAtley, the project’s earthwork subcontractor, has shut down all its work in accordance with a judicial decree which prevents ITD from doing earth-disturbing road work from mid-October to mid-April.

Despite continued appeals from the public, the Sandpoint-to-Dover bike and pedestrian path remains closed west of Chuck Slough for safety reasons.

The subgrade for the new highway alignment is incomplete and no pavement has been laid.

“It’s not at finished subgrade. It still needs work and in places there are large rocks protruding through the surface,” Florence said.

The bike path will remain closed until the $22 million project is completed next fall.

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