On Tuesday, October 29, a drilling rig will be atop the Russell Street bridge digging more than 100 feet down through the river bed to test for a new bridge foundation.

Loren Frazier is manager on the Russell Street project for the WGM Group. He said on Friday, October 25, that the drilling will help determine the soil conditions for a new bridge.

"The drilling will collect soil samples down underneath the river bed so that we can properly design a foundation for a new bridge," Frazier said. "If all goes well, the drilling will be conducted from the current bridge deck on Tuesday between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. This will disrupt traffic, so we will need to close one lane of the bridge. They're going to drill right off the existing bridge, through the deck and down about 120 feet below the surface to get the information we need."

Winter weather is forecasted for Monday into early Tuesday. Frazier said the weather could complicate the drilling project.

"If the weatherman is right, it could delay us a little bit," Frazier said. "If we're still able to work and get it done, hopefully we can because gaining this information for the bridge design is time-critical, so even if we have to delay a day or two, we still need to get it done this fall to keep going."

WGM Group has been contracted by the Montana Department of Transportation for the Russell Street project.

"We'll provide a full design for replacement of the Russell Street bridge and the streets between West Broadway and Idaho Street," Frazier said. "We're also under contract to provide preliminary, or as we like to call them 30 percent designs, for the remainder of the project from Idaho Street all the way down to Mount Avenue."

The completed design is planned for 2015, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016.

Manager on the Russell Street project for WGM Group, Loren Frazier: