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Bridge Street Bridge Closed

Due to structural concerns, Bridge Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic starting Wednesday, January 31, for the foreseeable future.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) performs regular inspections of the bridge, and during a recent inspection, it was determined that the bridge can no longer reliably carry traffic.

In coordination with Flathead County, barriers will be placed at each end of the bridge. Advanced warning signage will also be installed to notify drivers of the closure. The closure will only affect the areas immediately adjacent to the bridge and the bridge itself. The entrances of area residences and businesses will not be affected.

Pedestrians and vehicles will be required to use Grand Drive to access downtown Bigfork. Sliter’s Park and other destinations southwest of the bridge can be accessed using Bridge Street from the Montana Highway 209 (MT 209) or Montana Highway 35 (MT 35) turn-offs.

Plans are currently underway to replace the bridge. More details regarding the bridge’s replacement can be found below.

If you have questions or concerns, email Sloane Stinson or call the project hotline at 406-207-4484, operating Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Project Overview

Bigfork is known as one of the top tourist destinations in northwestern Montana while being a quaint but busy hometown to many. The local charm of the community is recognized throughout the state. One of the reasons for this distinction is the iconic steel truss Bridge Street bridge over the Swan River, connecting the downtown area to Montana Highway 35 (MT 35).

In the coming years, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will replace the aging Bridge Street structure with a similar, one-lane steel truss bridge.

Construction Timeline

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2026. This timeline is subject to change due to factors such as funding availability, availability of contractors, and other unforeseen issues.

The bridge will be closed to traffic and pedestrians during construction. Minimal road work will be needed to tie the existing roadway into the new bridge.

The project is anticipated to be completed in one construction season; however, it could take longer due to project site constraints and complexities. A more accurate estimate will be available as we get closer to construction.

Why Does the Bridge Need to be Replaced?

Opened to the public in 1912, the bridge is experiencing corrosion and other issues due to its age. Its condition has resulted in the bridge being load posted at a 3-ton weight limit for the last several years, which restricted larger vehicles from using the bridge. As time passed, the bridge’s condition continued to deteriorate, ultimately resulting in the current closure of the bridge.

The bridge, which is owned and maintained by Flathead County, also requires special maintenance. Currently, Flathead County crews cannot use regular large equipment to clear the structure of snow.

Bridge Modernization

Through early public outreach and area studies, MDT has been told time and again how important this bridge is to the community. The Bridge Street Bridge not only carries traffic but a sense of community pride, and residents have shared how essential it is to retain as much of the original character as possible.

As a result of this community feedback, MDT and Flathead County will be replacing the current structure with a bridge that maintains a similar iconic aesthetic and features a matching steel truss shape and single travel lane. The new bridge will be approximately the same length as the current 120-foot structure, and the location of the bridge will not change.

Safety benefits will also be incorporated:

Due to the condition of the current bridge, it cannot handle large and heavy loads. Truck drivers and emergency response vehicles must route around the bridge. After construction, the new structure will be able to accommodate fire trucks and ambulances, providing safety benefits for the community by allowing these responders to have a second access point to downtown Bigfork.

The updated bridge will provide a sidewalk that meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Also, once construction has been completed, Flathead County will be able to better perform regular maintenance and snow removal on the bridge.

Bigfork Bridge History

The existing bridge was built in 1911 by the American Bridge Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A pedestrian walkway outside the truss on the upstream side was added at an unknown time. This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

The public is encouraged to reach out with thoughts and questions by calling the project hotline at 406-207-4484, operating Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by emailing