Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Higgins Avenue Beartracks Bridge project won’t be completed until the spring, according to Engineering Project Manager Matt Straub for the Higgins Avenue Bridge Project with the Montana Department of Transportation.

For the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, Straub explained the traffic flow over the bridge.

Two Lanes will be Open this Holiday Weekend

“As we head into this Thanksgiving weekend we'll have one lane of traffic open in each direction on the bridge,” began Straub. “Traffic lanes will be open on the outside to better facilitate the parking at the local businesses as weather permits. Then, next weekend, if we can get the snow and ice to melt off the bridge deck, we'll add some striping and we'll be able to open two lanes in each direction.”

The Engineer Explained the Delays in Completing the Bridge Project

Straub explained the many delays experienced by the Montana Department of Transportation in the bridge project.

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“Our major delays were caused by supply chain issues and weather,” he said. “Some unexpected repairs came up during the reconstruction of the bridge that caused these delays, and then those delays were fairly further exacerbated by supply chain issues and material availability.”

Straub said unexpected extra expenses were incurred during the bridge reconstruction project due to a variety of issues.

“There was some additional work that was unanticipated during the rehabilitation of the bridge, and that work drove up some of the costs,” he said. “These were costs that would have been figured in the original total had we known that they were issues.”

The Bridge Project Won't be Completed until Spring 2023

Due to weather issues, Straub said the Higgins Avenue Beartracks Bridge Project won’t be completed before April or May of 2023.

“The project won't be completed until later this spring when we apply a polymer overlay to the bridge deck,” he said. “That is work that is weather dependent and probably will not take place until April and May, and I do not believe there's going to be any sort of ceremony before that.”

The Beartracks Bridge was dedicated on October 10, National Indigenous People’s Day with a ceremony that ended with a procession down the bridge and a pow-wow in Caras Park.

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