MISSOULA - Construction on the Higgins St. bridge starts today, Oct. 5.
Crews are going to start setting up for construction to start on the west side of the bridge closest to the Wilma, so all traffic is going to be diverted over to the east side of the bridge.
Traffic will be moving one way each direction in the northbound lanes headed into downtown. Access to businesses will still be open, just crossing the bridge on the west side will not be available. In the first phase of construction crews will be replacing the bridge deck to widen the surface and crews say now is the time to get started.
"The bridge deck is deteriorating, it's still safe to drive on, but really we need to get the bridge deck replaced and fixed and we're at the time in the life cycle of the bridge deck that we need to get that done," John Schmidt, Missoula district construction engineer, Montana Department of Transportation.
Throughout the project a lot of roadway and sidewalk improvements will be made at each end of the bridge including new foundations, a wider bridge deck, new shared-use paths, and a new stairway to Caras Park. The first phase construction is expected to last until May 2021.
The entire bridge project is expected to hopefully be done in spring of 2022.