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Project Overview

The temporary weight restriction on Beartracks/Higgins Avenue Bridge has been increased to 21 tons. All vehicles weighing more than 21 tons will be rerouted. Road signs are in place to provide advanced warning of the load restriction and indicate detour routes for oversized vehicles.

The bridge remains safe for pedestrians, cyclists and all vehicles weighing less than 21 tons.

The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is often posted on the vehicle (such as the door jamb) or listed in the owner manual. For trailers, the GVW might be shown on a plaque near the tongue. The posted GVW limit of 21 tons includes the combined weight of the vehicle and any trailers it may be hauling.

The graphic below illustrates the average weight of several vehicle types. As a reminder, two thousand pounds equals one ton.

weights by car type table

Construction is progressing on the east side of the bridge. Material shortages continue to cause delays. The project team fully acknowledges these delays are frustrating and is equally as frustrated. Shortages lead to unforeseen circumstances that are out of our control. This makes scheduling and predicting timelines nearly impossible. As information is known, we are sure to communicate it to our partners and the traveling public. Please know we are doing all we can to safely complete construction as soon as possible.

Crews are continuing with girder repairs and decking as material availability allows. Although a specific date cannot be determined at this point, construction is anticipated to be completed this summer.

We know that you'll likely have questions about this project. The project team will host public ZOOM meetings on the dates listed below. These will be held at 12 p.m.

Jul 6, 2022 12:00 PM
Aug 3, 2022 12:00 PM
Sep 7, 2022 12:00 PM

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Passcode: 786920

Join by Telephone
+1 213 338 8477 or +1 206 337 9723 or +1 646 558 8656
Webinar ID: 854 4426 6567
Passcode: 786920
Find your local number: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/u/keGva5n2sq

Join by SIP
Passcode: 786920

The Higgins Avenue Bridge provides access to the heart of downtown for students, residents and visitors to the Garden City. Whether you're heading to the Hip Strip on foot, cruising to Out to Lunch on your bike, or driving to a meeting downtown, the Higgins Avenue Bridge is a key connector for all modes of transportation.

The Montana Department of Transportation and Sletten Construction are rehabilitating the Higgins Avenue 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
Click on the image for a larger view

The Higgins Avenue 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 Higgins 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

Click to view a larger image.

Recommended Pedestrian Route

Higgins Avenue Project Recommended Pedestrian Route image

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UPN 8807000