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

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1

Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge - Maine

  Spanning over the Ossipee River on the border between Porter in Oxford County, Maine and Parsonsfield in York County, Maine is the 152 foot long Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge. The Porter-Parsonsfield Bridge is built in a Paddleford truss design, which is commonly found among covered bridges in the New England states. The covered bridge is the third bridge located at this site, with the first two bridges built in 1800 and 1808. However, there seems to be some dispute for when the covered bridge was built. There is a plaque on the bridge that states that the bridge may have been built in 1876, but in my research, I have found that this bridge may have been built in 1859 instead. That may check out since a number of covered bridges in northern New England were built or replaced around 1859 after a really icy winter. The year that the Porter-Parsonsfield Covered Bridge was built was not the only controversy surrounding its construction. There was a dispute over building and maintain

US Route 299 and modern California State Route 299

US Route 299 connected US Route 101 near Arcata of Humboldt County east across the northern mountain ranges of California to US Route 395 in Alturas of Modoc County.  US Route 299 was the longest child route of US Route 99 and is the only major east/west highway across the northern counties of California.  US Route 299 was conceptualized as the earliest iteration of what is known as the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.  The legacy of US Route 299 lives on today in the form of the 307 mile long California State Route 299.   Featured as the cover of this blog is the interchange of US Route 101 and US Route 299 north of Arcata which was completed as a segment of the Burns Freeway during 1956.   Part 1; the history of US Route 299 and California State Route 299 The development of the State Highways which comprised US Route 299 ("US 299") and later California State Route 299 ("CA 299") began with 1903 Legislative Chapter 366 which defined the general corridor of the Trinit