Priest River bridge battle wages on - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Priest River bridge battle wages on

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PRIEST RIVER, Idaho -

An elderly Priest River couple is desperate for answers.

The Vrbeta family says a bridge that connects the main road to their property has been closed by the county and presents them with a big problem.

The documents are lengthy, but outline under former Bonner County Commissioner, Todd Sudick, the old bridge was going to be replaced.

In October 2016, the county reached an easement agreement

Out in the woods, Boris and Rahela Vrbeta enjoy their slice of peace and quiet.

Alan Roll and Brandon Aldrus are the Vrbeta’s grandkids and over the weekend they say Boris experienced heart problems.

“Rahela, grandmother, called 911, called for an ambulance and there was no way to get there was no way to get onto the property because the bridge was blocked off,” Roll said.

They ay crews had to go around with snowmobiles, load Boris onto one, bring him back to an ambulance and then off to the hospital.

“The bridge needs to be fixed,” Roll said.

The family says the bridge has a three ton weight limit, meaning a fire truck or an ambulance can not cross.

Sudick says he helped make a deal in 2016 where the county would maintain the road and replace the bridge.

Sudick added the current situation is making the Vrbeta’s prisoners in their own home.

"Now you've got a Fifth Amendment issue with this thing, this a horror story. You got a couple guys who don't know what they are doing,” Sudick said.


Current Bonner County Commissioner, Dan McDonald, contends that argument.


He tells KHQ the road is state owned by the Idaho Department of Lands.

“In good faith we had a bridge designed and that the 14,000 pound bridge requirement, we had an agreement with IDL that if we provide the bridge.”

“They are going to let us out of the easement and we're going to be upset that we had to spend $60,000 of the taxpayers money for a private access but so be it just to get us out of this incredibly bad deal done by the former commissioner,” McDonald said.

McDonald tells KHQ that the county does plan on replacing the bridge, but isn’t sure when that will happen until all sides can reach an agreement.
 

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