US 95 Pend Oreille Long Bridge Upgrades

Self-performed construction
Bonner County, Idaho
Idaho Transportation Department
why it matters

McMillen provided award-winning upgrades to the US 95 Pend Oreille Long Bridge, a vital lifeline connecting the communities of Sagle and Sandpoint, ID. This revitalization project not only extended the bridge's service life by a century but also brought critical safety enhancements and improved access for pedestrians and the nearly 20,000 vehicles that rely on it daily. Through meticulous planning and execution, McMillen exceeded project schedules, completing the work in just one construction season instead of the anticipated two. Our unwavering commitment to safety, demonstrated by our robust safety program ensured zero recordable accidents or injuries from start to finish.

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The vehicular bridge, built in 1981, and the pedestrian bridge, constructed in 1956, required essential repairs to continue to safely support travel between Sandpoint and Sagle, Idaho. Our scope of work included:

• High-density polyethylene (HDPE) pile wrap installation

• Pile driving

• Concrete girder repair

• Expansion joint replacements

• Wedge grinding to provide a smooth transition between expansion joints

• Bearing replacements

• Navigation light replacements

• Electrical work

• Bridge railing coating

• Sea wall repairs

• Earthwork

• Underwater diving work

• Permanent signage

• Temporary traffic control

This project faced many challenges. One of the most significant challenges was working under live traffic. As the primary route from North Idaho and Canada to Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, the bridge experiences an average of 18,500 vehicles per day. We used 70 hydraulic jacks to lift the bridge under varying traffic conditions. This work US 95 Long Bridge 2 was performed under extremely tight constraints to avoid causing any structural damage and to ensure the allowable lift height was not exceeded. Every supervisor and worker had a specific role: monitoring, inspecting, and measuring each jack height; inspecting the 70 pressure gauges to ensure even load distribution; observing vehicles crossing the bridge to notify the crew of large vehicles crossing the span; and overall oversight. Communication was paramount to alleviating this challenge.

Additional challenges included limited access and material delays. Tight workspaces, minimal overhead clearances, and varying water levels meant that our crews had to be nimble, from working with smaller equipment to continuously reconfiguring scaffolding throughout the job. Effective materials management, agile staffing, and resourceful organization mitigated material shortages due to manufacturing delays.

McMillen listened closely to the local community to minimize impacts throughout the project. Construction hours were limited to Sunday night through Friday morning to reduce impacts on recreational users during the weekend. A 12-foot pedestrian path was maintained to allow public use during construction. Our team’s work schedule was coordinated to safely allow thousands of people onto the job site for events including the Long Bridge Swim, Spokane to Sandpoint Relay, and Labor Day Dog Walk.

Due to its community inclusion, safety-first approach, and timely completion, the US 95 Pend Oreille Long Bridge project was awarded the Idaho Transportation Department and Idaho American General Contractors’ Excellence in Construction Partnering Award – Gold, as well as the WTS International Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Chapter Project of the Year.


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