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Historic Boise footbridge gets a makeover: No more rat-a-tat-tat, cyclists

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A big change is coming to a historic Boise bridge in coming months. And cyclists and other users should see a smoother ride.

The City of Boise will remove the wood plank bridge deck on the 9th Street Footbridge over the Boise River near the Ann Frank Human Rights Memorial.

“The wood decking on the bridge has been deteriorating for years, and we often receive complaints about the surface materials despite our infrastructure team’s annual maintenance on the deck,” Boise Parks Superintendent Jennifer Tomlinson said.

Up will come the rustic wooden boards. Down will go concrete.

“We looked at wood, however the maintainence on it is much more significant than conrete,” she said. “Concrete was determined to be the most appropriate with the challenges of installation associated with the deck and long term viability and maintainence.”

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Tomlinson said that the current wooden surface also posed challenges to “users with a variety of mobility needs.”

“Cyclysts often tell us that their fillings come loose when they go over the bridge,” she said.

For the sake of safety – if not dental work – crews will remove the existing deck in coming months. The parks department also considered recycled rubber, grates and a new wood surface before landing on concrete.

Right now, the project would start June 20th, though Tomlinson cautions that could change. A detour route will go up to get folks around the closure.

The city estimates the project cost at $280,000.

8th St, 9th St: history

The bridge is formally known as the Ninth Street Bridge, though it is lined up with 8th St. It went up in 1911, bringing a streetcar line out from downtown to south Boise. For most of its life, the truss bridge ended its life as a route for vehicles, with a new ninth street bridge going in just a few yards to the west. The Ada County Highway District transferred the old bridge over to the city. Crews at the time removed the asphalt bridge deck and installed a wood surface.

In 2001, the bridge landed a spot on the National Register of Historic places.

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