(Missoula Current) Funding from a federal infrastructure bill will again aid another project in Missoula, this time a vital bridge connecting portions of the Rattlesnake Neighborhood.

Sen. Jon Tester this week announced $2.9 million for the project, which will replace the 57-year-old Lolo Street Bridge. The bridge straddles Rattlesnake Creek and has deteriorated in recent years.

“The Lolo Street Bridge serves as a critical pathway for folks in the Missoula community to get to the Upper and Lower Rattlesnake – and the current aging bridge just can’t get the job done much longer,” Tester said in a statement.

Funding for the project comes from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Tester helped draft in partnership with five Republicans and four other Democrats. He was the only member of Montana's congressional delegation to vote for the bill.

Since its passage, the bill has funded nearly $2.8 billion in Montana for roads, bridges and highways including several in Missoula. Funding from the program has also aided Missoula Montana Airport in its terminal expansion and bolstered efforts to restore passenger rail.

Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier said the county is responsible for maintaining 100-plus bridges, and federal funding helps reduce local taxpayers' cost of that work.

“The Lolo Street Bridge provides vital connectivity in Missoula's Rattlesnake neighborhood, which is especially critical during evacuations related to wildfires or other disasters,” Strohmaier said. “We're grateful to Senator Tester for helping craft the bipartisan infrastructure law that will provide this crucial funding, and we appreciate his support as we continue to seek federal assistance for infrastructure needs throughout the county.”