Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - After the news that several bridges in the area had to be closed for safety reasons, Missoula County Public Works Director Shane Stack told KGVO News that the important one lane Maclay Bridge linking two Missoula neighborhoods could be reopened in a ‘few months’.

Stack said the discussions on repairing and reopening the bridge have been ongoing for weeks.

County Public Works Director says Maclay Bridge Could Open in a few Months

“We'll talk about Maclay bridge first,” began Stack. “We did hear back from our consultant and they gave us a list of repairs that we should make for opening the bridge back up. So there are a few items that will need to get done before we start doing repairs. But one of those is completing an agreement with the Montana Department of Transportation for funding through Senate Bill 536, and then we'll have to complete a Montana Environmental Policy Act document, as well.”

While those actions are underway, Stack said the county is wisely gathering the necessary materials to effect the temporary bridge repairs.

Stack says Materials to Repair the Bridge are Being Ordered Now

“At the same time we'll start ordering our materials,” he said. “I think we're looking at probably two weeks at the most for material lead times and then hopefully in two or three weeks, we'll be able to start making repairs. I would imagine that we're probably looking at three to four weeks for repairs, and I’m thinking we're probably a few months out before we have the bridge back open.”

Stack estimated the cost of the temporary repairs to help the bridge reopen safely until a permanent solution can be found.

Stack says the Temporary Repairs will Cost Around $65,000

“I think we’re estimating around $65,000 for the repairs, and the funding will come from Senate Bill 536, which was last passed at the last legislative session that provided $100 million towards infrastructure improvements across the state,” he said. “(In that bill) there was $20 million dedicated to quick fixes for bridges across the state, so we're able to use a small portion of that $20 million for quick fixes.”

According to a press release from Stack’s office;

‘The repairs will allow the County to reopen the one-lane bridge, placed at its current location in 1953, to traffic, bicycles and pedestrians. Construction on a new bridge upstream that would connect South Avenue to River Pines Road is tentatively slated to begin in 2026. More information on the South Avenue Bridge can be found here.’

Stack said the Boy Scout Bridge near Seeley Lake cannot be repaired, however some of the funds from Senate Bill 536 can also be used as a match with future funding from the county to replace the Boy Scout Bridge.

From Stack’s press release please find this information about the Rock Creek Bridge.

MDT will also provide funding from SB 536 for Missoula County to complete necessary repairs on the Rock Creek Bridge that crosses the Clark Fork River on the southeastern edge of the county. MDT designated the bridge as “scour critical” last fall after an inspection revealed the river could wash away enough sediment around the piers to compromise the structural integrity of the bridge, especially amid high water events. Public Works plans to fortify the base of the piers with rip-rap this spring, ideally ahead of mountain runoff that leads to high water. Additional but less urgent repairs to the bridge are planned for this fall. The total cost for these repairs will be heavily dependent on bid prices.

LOOK: Most dangerous states to drive in

Stacker used the Federal Highway Administration's 2020 Highway Statistics report to rank states by the fatalities per billion miles traveled. 

Gallery Credit: Katherine Gallagher

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