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Idaho to patch, not replace bridges for now

State officials say bridges designed to last up to 60 years will have to hold out twice that long without an increase in transportation funding.

That’s what Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness told lawmakers Thursday, saying his agency only has enough money to replace bridges every 120 years.

A state task force on transportation funding determined in November that Idaho will need to come up with an additional $543 million annually to fully address its needs to maintain highways and bridges.

But the task force directed the governor and Idaho lawmakers to explore their ideas only after the economy has improved and more revenue is available.

Until there is more money, Ness says his agency will rely on short-term fixes to keep Idaho roads and bridges intact in the meantime.

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