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Will the existing Highway 82 Bridge remain open during construction?

The new bridge and roadway are being constructed to the south of the existing bridge and roadway. By doing so, the existing facilities can remain open during construction with minimal to no traffic impacts. Intermittent single-lane closures will be required. The public will be notified in advance of these closures as schedules are finalized.

How long will construction take?

The project will take two construction seasons to complete. Construction activity will begin in early 2023.

Why is the bridge only two lanes? Why not make it four lanes?

MDT traffic studies and population growth models indicate that a two-lane bridge will meet traffic needs for decades to come.

Will there be a dedicated bike lane and/or pedestrian walkway on the new bridge?

There are currently no plans for a dedicated bike lane or pedestrian walkway. However, a shared-use path connecting MT Highway 82 and MT Highway 83 is in Flathead County’s long-range transportation plan. If the shared-use path is constructed, the substantial 10-foot shoulders on the new bridge will be able to accommodate pedestrian and bike traffic with minor alterations, such as striping and installing a protective pedestrian rail to separate the path from the travel lanes.

Will pedestrians be allowed to walk on the new bridge?

Yes, pedestrians will be allowed to walk on the bridge. The wider travel lanes and shoulders will provide a much more comfortable and safe space for pedestrians than what is currently available on the existing bridge. MDT bridges are designed for all modes of transportation.

Will the Fishing Access Site (FAS) remain open during construction?

It is anticipated that the FAS and associated boat ramp will be in operation throughout construction. This will be accomplished by constructing the new FAS before bridge construction begins or by phasing construction of the new FAS to maintain operations. Minor construction impacts at the FAS are possible, but delays are expected to be minimal.

Will the new Fishing Access Site (FAS) be built first?

Yes. Building the new Fishing Access Site first will create space for the new bridge to be constructed.

Will boating traffic be able to travel beneath the bridge during construction?

Boat traffic will be allowed beneath the bridge through the work zone. For safety purposes, temporary short-term closures may be necessary. These closures are anticipated to last no more than eight hours per occurrence. The public will be notified in advance of any restrictions or temporary closures.

Will the new bridge have the same vertical clearance above the river as the old bridge?

The proposed Highway 82 Bridge will have the same or slightly more vertical clearance than the existing bridge. The vertical clearance is measured from the bottom of the lowest beam to the top of the water surface.

Are the high traffic and long wait times at the MT Highway 35 and MT Highway 82 Intersection going to being addressed?

The intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 82 is currently being evaluated by MDT to determine appropriate options for addressing traffic concerns. This evaluation includes the nearby intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 83 to ensure future improvements will allow for the intersections to function together and not have unintended negative traffic impacts at each intersection.

What is the project budget?

The estimated construction budget for the project is more than $20M. This estimate will be updated once the final design is complete and is further contingent on the bidding market, cost of labor and materials, inflation, and other economic conditions at that time.

When will a contractor be awarded?

It is anticipated that the contractor bidding process for the project will begin in December 2022. This date is contingent on funding availability, completion of the final design, economic conditions, and possible unforeseen factors.

Where can I get more information?

More information for this project can be requested from Sloane Stinson, the Communication Manager for the Sportsman's Bridge project. You can reach her at sloaneXYZbigskypublicrelationsABCcom or call 406-207-4484. This webpage will also be kept up to date with any project updates.