Project Overview

The Montana Department of Transportation and Frontier West are rehabilitating the eastbound bridge that carries Interstate 90 (I 90) over the Clark Fork River, five miles east of Alberton.

I 90 Eastbound Clark Fork River Bridge – 5 Miles East of Alberton map

Project Map

Work on this project began in spring 2023 and is anticipated to be completed in 2024.

Work completed in 2023 included:

  • Replacing the bridge deck (driving surface).
  • Installing new barrier and guardrail.
  • Replacing expansion joints and bearings.
  • Improving drainage.
  • Repairing concrete on piers.
  • Applying transverse deck grooving.

Anticipated improvements in 2024:

  • Sealing the bridge deck.
  • Painting portions of the steel substructure.
  • Applying final pavement markings.

What are expansion joints and transverse deck grooving?

Expansion joints: Bridge decks expand and contract several inches due to changes in temperature. For the bridge deck not to buckle or push into the ends of the roadway, expansion joints are designed into the structure to allow for movement. When you cross over a set of steel plates on a bridge, that is usually the expansion joint.

I 90 Eastbound Clark Fork River Bridge – 5 Miles East of Alberton expansion joint

Expansion Joints

Transverse deck grooving: After a new bridge deck is built, the surface of the concrete is smooth with limited skid resistance. To increase skid resistance for vehicle safety and shed water to the gutters, shallow crossway saw cuts are placed every few inches with a concrete saw blade down the entire bridge deck. These grooves add traction and prevent water from pooling on the deck.

I 90 Eastbound Clark Fork River Bridge – 5 Miles East of Alberton transverse deck grooving

Transverse Deck Grooving

Why is the project needed?

This bridge was originally constructed in 1979 and has gone through several minor rehabilitations. The bridge remains safe to drive on but needs major rehabilitation work. This project will make cost-effective improvements and repairs to the existing structure that will extend its service life for many years.

Stay Informed During Construction

Communication with the public is important to MDT and the success of the project. The community will be notified about public involvement opportunities, and construction and traffic activities, at key project milestones throughout the construction process. MDT will notify the public through the project website, local media, mailings, social media, and email and text notifications.

Current construction information and road conditions can be found on the MDT Travel Info App.

UPN 9581000