The Higgins Avenue, now Beartracks Bridge reconstruction project will experience some minor restrictions this week, according to the Montana Department of Transportation.

MDT District One Construction Engineer John Schmidt explains.

“We're going to do a closure pour to actually tie the two structures that are out there together,” said Schmidt. “This was in the original set of plans and part of doing that closure pour is that we just have to reduce the amount of vibration that's in the bridge, and so to do that we're restricting traffic to a maximum weight of five tons and a speed of only 15 miles an hour.”

Schmidt said most drivers of vehicles that are five tons or more are aware of the restrictions.

“Most vehicles that everyday people would drive would meet that five ton restriction,” he said. “Most vehicles do have a GVW sticker on the inside of the door frame or maybe in the glove box that says what their weight is, so I would encourage everybody to just know what that is. Obviously, commercial traffic, those people doing deliveries, they know what their weight is, and so they'll know if they're five tons or more.”

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Schmidt said MDT has already proactively been working with public transportation and emergency vehicles in Missoula.

“We're working with the Mountain Line and with emergency services,” he said. “They all know what's coming, and so there may be some alterations to their routes. We have worked with emergency services to make sure that they can get across and do it safely.”

Schmidt provided a timeline for the concrete pour.

“We are going to start Wednesday and then it'll run through Sunday, so the concrete pours will probably happen Wednesday and Thursday and then we do have to give the concrete time to cure and get hard and develop that strength and that's what Friday Saturday and Sunday are going to be for, and then and then Monday we should be back to normal,” he said.

Schmidt said digital message boards will be in place at both ends of the bridge to provide information about the restrictions and indicate alternate routes.


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