Madison Street bridge project advancing on schedule

Work began on the Madison Street bridge in January and is now 25 percent complete, the general contractor said Tuesday. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

Missoula Current

The general contractor charged with rehabilitating the Madison Street bridge on Tuesday said it had completed 25 percent of work, despite tough winter conditions that have included snow, freezing rain and cold weather.

Mike Murphy, owner of Frontier West, said efforts to redeck the antiquated bridge are moving forward on schedule.

“We’re very pleased with the progress made on the Madison Street bridge to date,” said Murphy. “Quality construction, timeliness and safety are our primary goals.”

The project was scheduled to begin in late December, though subzero temperatures delayed the start until early January. One half of the bridge remains open to traffic while crews work to redeck the other half.

Murphy said the work will aid in the longevity of the structure and control rust.

“The construction of a new single pier, which will create better visibility below the bridge, is also finished,” Murphy said. “Crews are now placing steel beams onto the new pier which, when completed, will connect both ends of the bridge, allowing the new decking to be put in place.”

Erected in 1958, the bridge was deemed structurally deficient last summer, roughly six months after a piece of concrete broke lose and fell to the riverbank below. That forced the Montana Department of Transportation to expedite a $7 million reconstruction effort and complete the work between football and academic seasons at the University of Montana.

The pedestrian river crossing below the Madison Street bridge will remain open until mid-spring, when work will begin on southbound lanes. The trail system will remain open throughout the project with the exception of the trail access via Maurice Ave.

In addition to bridge deck repairs, the project features structural, aesthetic and multi-modal improvements, including new lighting and railings, expanded sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

Work also includes repair of the bridge’s support structures. Frontier West looks to complete the project by August.

“We’re grateful for the great partnership shown by many in the city of Missoula, which makes achieving these goals possible,” Murphy said.