Local Missoula Landmark Moves One Step Closer to Being Removed
It's far from being a done deal but it's possible that an iconic Missoula landmark could be on borrowed time. The structure in question is Maclay Bridge. If you don't know the bridge by its name you might know it as the small bridge that provides one lane of travel over the Bitterroot River when you follow North Avenue for a few miles west of Reserve St. Wait, could we really see Maclay Bridge be removed? The way things are looking now it's starting to look like a real possibility.
That news bums me out a bit
When I was new to Missoula a few years ago, one of the first things I discovered when I went out driving around to do some exploring was Maclay Bridge. I'll be honest, my very first thought when I saw it was, "yikes, this thing should have been replaced years ago!" It looked old and rickety and the one-way travel seemed like a pain. The one positive I took away at the time was the sign that said "weight limit 11 tons" - which I thought would lend itself well to being the subject of a killer "yo momma joke" about the bridge. But I do actually like the bridge for how simple and unique it is. And we always head in that direction when we take a family trip to look for deer.
Why would they tear down Maclay Bridge?
I won't get too deep into the details, you can do that for yourself with this KPAX story about Missoula Country Commissioners accepting a recommendation to do away with the bridge. But to put it in simple terms, plans are in the works for a new bridge to be built on South Avenue and the cost to remove Maclay Bridge would be less than it would be to refurbish it. That brings into play the old saying about "out with the old and in with the new."
But it's not a done deal just yet
It seems like it might be a while until we get the final decision on the future of the bridge. As the KPAX story points out: "Engineers say even with the decision, the county must still go through a public process to defend the removal because of the bridge's historical designation."