Bridge to Nowhere
And a Tunnel of Light
By Dean Worbois
For the most part, my dad was a rule-respecting guy. But what was he supposed to do when there was a major construction site to check out and no signs saying not to? And on a Sunday, when no one was around? We checked it out. That’s why I have photos of me sitting on the support beams of a million-dollar bridge. It was 1953. I was eight.
The US Army Corps of Engineers was building Lucky Peak Dam, a flood control structure on the Boise River twelve miles east of Boise. The dam’s reservoir would inundate the road to Idaho City, so a new road was being constructed above the future waterline. This new route required a high steel bridge across Mores Creek Canyon.
Very little of the road under construction could be seen from the old road, which ran up the Boise River and then Mores Creek. The first noticeable sign of the new road was a tall concrete foundation rising up to support the bridge. When we kids asked about this unlikely spire, Dad’s response was, “They’re building a million dollar bridge to nowhere.” A million dollars was a lot of money at a time when gasoline was twenty cents per gallon and when the pavement on Highway 21 ended at Idaho City. A narrow dirt road extended to Lowman and joined the road to Grandjean. At the time, there were no plans to continue the road to Stanley.