The Ada County Highway District is proud to announce the completion of the rehabilitation of the Gowen Road Bridge #2173. The reconstruction of the bridge began last December and was officially complete on May 15, 2020. The bridge was replaced as part of ACHD’s Bridge Maintenance Program.
The Gowen Road Bridge was originally constructed in 1941 over the New York Canal as part of the Defense Highway Act, which authorized the Commissioner of Public Roads to construct access roads (including bridges and other such structures) to military reservations and defense industries and sites. In 1943, the bridge was moved and reconstructed as the military base expanded.
Many roads and bridges in Idaho were built under this act, including those that helped to support the Gowen Field Army Air Base. The Gowen Road Bridge served as an important connection between the military base and desert.
Now almost 80 years old, the wooden and concrete bridge needed to be replaced and improved for a number of reasons. A crack was found in one of the beams, and the railing was failing. The bridge also had a weight restriction yet served a high volume of industrial traffic.
The new bridge replaced the aging structure and was made wider to accommodate the addition of sidewalks, which were added on each side of the bridge.
Reconstruction of the bridge was not without its challenges. The procurement of the girders for the bridge was difficult because there are only a few facilities that can make the girders and there was a long lead time to make them. The girders themselves are around 100 feet long and had to be delivered to the job site. The contractor was also working against the clock to complete all the work in the irrigation canal before the irrigation water was turned on March 15th. The reconstructed bridge continues to serve residents, the industrial companies in the area, and the National Guard Base which shares the Boise Airport.