BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials have decided to replace rather than repair a bridge over a major interstate near Boise that was damaged during a fiery, seven-vehicle crash that killed four people.
Idaho Transportation Department board members on Friday approved spending up to $8 million to replace the Cloverdale Road overpass on Interstate 84 that sustained fire damage.
Board member Julie DeLorenzo says it would have cost up to $1.5 million to repair the bridge.
“That investment on an aged bridge that is inadequate for today’s traffic and pedestrian needs is not a good use of taxpayer funds,” she said in a statement.
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The new bridge will have four travel lanes and a higher clearance over the interstate.
The crash, which occurred on June 16 below the bridge, killed a commercial truck driver and four airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Idaho Department of Transportation officials said an examination of the bridge found that the heat from the fire after the crash caused the damage. Officials said it caused steel cables and rebar added for strength in the concrete girders to separate from the concrete.
Department spokesman Jake Melder said the exterior of the concrete isn’t cracking or flaking, so it’s safe to open the interstate beneath the bridge.
Officials say replacing the bridge will take a full year.
Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/