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