The Missoula County Public Works Department told KGVO News this week that Maclay Bridge, the one-way only bridge that spans the Bitterroot River will be closed from Monday, October 18 through Friday, October 22.

Public Works Director Erik Dickson explained why the bridge must be closed on both sides of the river.

“We're going to concentrate on the west end of the bridge at River Pines Road,” he said. “For those regular users I'm sure that you've noticed how loud and how rough that transition is. So we're going to go through the same process we did a couple years ago of removing the asphalt surfacing, removing the steel decking and trying to get down to the superstructure so that we can solidify that connection and put a smooth surface back in place.”

Dickson said the work will take most of the week to accomplish.

“Based on the work that we did a couple years ago, I think we can get it done in about four days, but we're giving ourselves the full week because there's a lot more trouble at that West End for the support of those stringers, and so we need to do a little more work. We’re really counting on four days or maybe five and that will of course require a full closure since we'll have the deck removed. So you know, we asked the residents in the area to use Blue Mountain Road to Highway 93 or Big Flat Road to Mullan Road if they're getting back into Missoula.”

The historic bridge was moved to that location many years ago, and once had wooden timbers as decking.

“For some of those that have been around for a long time in the area, you may remember that we at one time had timber decking on that bridge which was a little more forgiving with the movement,” he said. “But you know with that movement came a lot of deterioration of the timbers and the timbers would break out and we'd have to go out and replace those on occasion. So, it's a tough situation to deal with, but we're doing the best that we can to keep a good driving surface.”

In 2020 a new structure was planned at the end of South Avenue, however, that project is still up in the air, so the Maclay Bridge remains the only option at this time.

 

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