Montana Department of Transportation

Malcolm “Mack” Long, Director


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MDT News

Beartracks Bridge Temporary Weight Restriction Implemented

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has established a
ten-ton weight limit on Beartracks Bridge in downtown Missoula. The
decision to implement the weight limit is a precautionary measure
while additional analyses and repairs are conducted. The original
weight restriction was instituted on Tuesday, July 13 and will be
maintained for the foreseeable future.

"Proceeding with an abundance
of caution is always the prudent decision," Senior Vice President of
Sletten Construction, Tony Ewalt said. "Sletten Construction will
continue to work closely with MDT and its engineers to ensure the
best results for this rehabilitation project and the continued safety
of the traveling public."

During the east half of the bridge's
demolition phase, degradation of some of the structural supports were
noted. Additional inspections of the bridge's west side found that
some gusset plates -- steel plates that tie bracing, diaphragms,
and/or beams to girders-- also need to be replaced. The newly imposed
weight restriction has been established to prevent further
degradation of these gusset plates.

"This is an old structure," MDT's
Missoula District Administrator, Bob Vosen said. "When you
rehabilitate an existing structure, there are bound to be some unique
challenges. We have every confidence that this bridge is safe for the
traveling public. This temporary weight restriction will help in
preventing any further degradation or the need for additional

Although the west side of the bridge appears complete, it
remains an active construction site. While traffic is moving on the
surface of the bridge, there is still work taking place below. The
weight restriction, although temporary, will be adapted, modified or
lifted as further analysis dictates it is prudent to do so. "Sletten
Construction appreciates the patience of residents dealing with the
inconveniences that occur with this type of construction," Ewalt
said. "We are delivering a quality project and are confident the
result will be a benefit to Missoula for many years to come." Drivers
who are uncertain about the weight of their vehicle can most often
find the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) 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
10 tons

includes the combined weight of the vehicle and any trailers
it may be hauling. Many large RV's including Class A motorhomes could
exceed the ten-ton limit, so in the interest of everyone's safety,
please check your GVW before traveling across the bridge. Most
standard passenger vehicles do not come close to the ten-ton weight

The public is encouraged to sign up for updates and ask any
questions via the project hotline at (406) 207-4484. The hotline is
active Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information
can be found on the project webpage:

accessible formats of this document will be provided upon request.
Persons who need an alternative format should contact the Office of
Civil Rights, Department of Transportation, 2701 Prospect Avenue, PO
Box 201001, Helena, MT 59620. Telephone 406-444-5416 or Montana Relay
Service at 711.