Skip to main content

Idaho's Perrine Memorial Bridge over the Snake River Canyon

The better known of the two high bridges (the other being the Hansen Bridge) that cross the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho is the I.B. Perrine Memorial Bridge. Carrying US 93 some 1500 feet across and 486 feet above the Snake River, the Perrine Bridge is the eighth tallest bridge and the fourth highest arch bridge in the United States. Opened in 1976, the distinctive brown arch bridge was a replacement for the 476 foot high Twin Falls Jerome Intercounty Bridge. Locals say the bridge has always been known as the Perrine Bridge because of the man who was instrumental in getting it built. The bridge was originally officially known by a number, Bridge 17-850, but the bridge was officially named for Ira Burton "I.B." Perrine in 2000. Today, more than 32,000 cars, trucks and motorcycles use it every day to travel between Jerome and Twin Falls Counties.

The Twin Falls Jerome Intercounty Bridge, which was a colossal 2 lane bridge that was the third highest bridge in the world upon its opening in 1927, a bridge that cost $662,000 to build. There was a grand opening with much fanfare. The bridge was christened with a bottle of cider by the wife of Ira Burton Perrine, the man that the modern bridge is named after, and was celebrated by barbecuing twelve steers at the opening ceremony. The original bridge was tolled, with drivers paying 60 cents per car, which amounts to around $9 in today's money, plus a nickel per passenger. Idaho bought the bridge in 1940 and the tolls were removed.

Then in 1976, the current bridge was built and remains the same today as it did back then, three times wider than the original bridge. The upgrade cost $10.5 million and took three years to complete. The main span of the bridge was constructed using a stayed cantilever method where individual pieces of the arch were lowered down, held in place by a series of cables that radiated out from the end of an already completed approach span on either side of the canyon. This was a temporary measure. Once the two arch halves were joined in the middle of the bridge, the cable stays were removed from the structure and a high line was then used to place the final spandrel supports and deck spans.

The Perrine Bridge and the surrounding Snake River Canyon has a history of daredevil stunts and thrill seeking. The bridge is a popular destination for BASE jumpers from all over the world. It is one of the few structures they can use without special permits from the city. Known among BASE jumpers as the Potato Bridge, the 48 story drop from the bridge deck to the canyon floor has become legendary within the BASE community. In 2005, Miles Daisher jumped from the Perrine Bridge 57 times in less than 24 hours, hiking out of the Snake River Canyon each time. This is approximately the equivalent of hiking Mount Everest.

This is also in the general area of where Evel Knievel made his famous and unsuccessful attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon on September 8, 1974. To the east of the bridge, along the south rim of the canyon, the dirt ramp used by Evel Knievel when he unsuccessfully attempted to jump the canyon on his steam-powered "skycycle" in 1974 is still visible. A malfunction had caused Knievel to fall to the rocks of the Snake River Canyon, but fortunately, his only injuries consisted of facial cuts and minor bruises. The Simpsons episode "Bart The Daredevil" is based on Knievel's attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. On September 16, 2016, stuntman Eddie Braun did what Evel Knievel did not, successfully jumping the Snake River Canyon in a rocket motorcycle built by the son of the man who built the original rocket motorcycle. The rocket motorcycle was named "Evel Spirit" in Knievel’s honor.

You can visit the Perrine Bridge by going to the visitor's center in Twin Falls, located next to the bridge. There is a walkway along the south rim of the Snake River Canyon, along with an observation deck. Pedestrian walkways along the bridge are also publicly accessible if you want to see some different views of the Snake River Canyon.


Small monument commemorating Evel Knievel's unsuccessful jump of the Snake River Canyon.

A picture and storyboard of the old Perrine Bridge.

Historical plaque dedicated to I.B. Perrine.

I.B. Perrine is pretty much the guy who invented Twin Falls, Idaho.

I.B. Perrine statue.

The seamy underbelly of the Perrine Bridge.

Looking a little west towards the Perrine Bridge. My other photos are west of the bridge.


There are a couple of golf courses located at the bottom of the Snake River Canyon west of the bridge.




Shoshone Falls is the other main attraction in Twin Falls and is certainly worth the detour.




How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
KTVB 7 - The History of the I.B. Perrine Bridge
Visit Idaho - Perrine Bridge
Visit Southern Idaho - Perrine Bridge
Visit Southern Idaho - Evel Knievel Jump Site
Highest Bridges - Perrine Bridge
MagicValley.com - Gallery: Perrine Bridge in All Seasons
Bridgehunter - Perrine Bridge
InfrastructureUSA - Great American Infrastructure: Twin Falls, ID: Perrine Bridge

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

Old Stage Road in Tulare County and Kern County

Old Stage Road is an approximately 30-mile rural highway comprised of Tulare County Mountain Road 1, Kern County Mountain Road 447 and Tulare County Mountain Road 109.  Old Stage originates at Jack Ranch Road near Posey and ends at the outskirts of Porterville at Deer Creek.  Old Stage Road notably is comprised of two 19th Century stage routes.  From White Mountain Road northwest to Fountain Springs, Old Stage Road overlays Thomas Baker's 1860s era stage road to Linn Valley (now Glennville) and the Kern River Gold Rush Claims.  From Fountain Springs to Deer Creek, Old Stage Road is comprised of the 1853 Stockton-Los Angeles Road. Featured as the blog cover is the northward descent on Old Stage Road along Arrastre Creek to the town site of White River.  What became White River was settled along a spur of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road as "Dog Town" when gold was discovered nearby.  By 1856 the community had been renamed Tailholt.  A stage road from Tailholt to Linn Valley w