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Project Overview

Final rehabilitation activities are anticipated to begin May 8, weather permitting. Crews will add a protective coating, called a polymer overlay, to the bridge deck. This work will take approximately 10 days to complete. During this time, drivers can expect reduced speeds and single-lane closures in each direction. Shared-use path closures will also be necessary to complete this work. Only one shared-use path will be closed at a time.

There are many concurrent projects happening in the downtown Missoula area. The City of Missoula and the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization are currently underway with the planning process for the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan: Brooks to Broadway. This plan aims to evaluate design options to improve safety and accessibility for multiple transportation modes. Although Beartracks Bridge is found within this planning area, the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan and the bridge rehabilitation are two separate projects. Both project teams have been in close coordination with one another as each advances at different stages.

For more information or to submit a comment about the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan, please visit https://www.engagemissoula.com/higgins-avenue-corridor-plan.

The bridge is currently open to four lanes of traffic. Minor painting and cleanup operations will take place as the weather permits.

Crews will return in spring 2023 to conduct permanent striping and epoxy overlay operations.

The Montana Department of Transportation and Sletten Construction are rehabilitating Beartracks Bridge to make this a safer and more spacious bridge for everyone. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2020.

Higgins Historic Bridge image
Image courtesy of University of Montana
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The bridge is deteriorating. Rehabilitation is necessary to extend the life of the bridge. The deck concrete is distressed and needs to be replaced, the steel structure elements need repair and/or replacement, and the entire steel portion of the bridge needs a new protective coating of paint.

The bridge now carries far more bicyclists and pedestrians than can be comfortably accommodated. While the bridge is safe for use now, MDT has prioritized rehabilitation of the bridge so it remains in safe condition.

The Montana Department of Transportation, Federal Highways Administration and the City of Missoula are committed to good stewardship of the Higgins Avenue Bridge.

The bridge is safe to use, and is inspected every two years. The Higgins Avenue Bridge rehabilitation will make necessary improvements to the bridge long before it would become unsafe for the public to use.

Higgins Avenue Project construction phase 1

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Recommended Pedestrian Route

Higgins Avenue Project Recommended Pedestrian Route image

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UPN 8807000