Organizers of this year's Missoula Marathon still aren't sure whether they'll have to adjust the course for the 2024 race, even though this year's event is coming up in a few weeks.

And with the latest uncertainties over then status of the old Maclay Bridge over the Bitterroot River, it's looking like race officials might have to fall back on a "Plan B".

In the meantime, like commuters who use the bridge daily, all they can do is watch and wait.

RELATED: More Patience Needed as Westside Missoula Bridge Remains Closed

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Bridge repairs taking longer than expected

As we reported last week, Missoula County has made another extension on the projected date for re-opening the bridge.

Originally, it was hoped the bridge could be quickly repaired and back in service at the end of April. Now, recent inspections uncovered more repairs to finish, meaning the bridge might not open until early to mid June.

Planning for the worst-case scenario

That's leaving a very short window for the Marathon to finalize the route, or deploy an alternative since the Maclay Bridge has always been a key link in the course

"Well, I've probably lost a few years off my life worrying about this bridge," Race Director Trisha Drobeck admitted in an interview for "Daybreak with Dennis." It's about six weeks delayed of where it needed to be and we are hoping for the best. Just planning for the worst. That's about all we can do. We can't, you know, run across the bridge unless it's complete. So we're just we're plugging away."

There is a "Plan B"

Drobeck says race organizers have other ideas in mind.

"Yeah, we it's it's not optimal," Drobeck said. There really aren't very many bridges across the river. So yeah, we have some routes myself and our course director have been plotting away at and hopefully we don't have to do that."

She says the full marathon isn't as much of a problem because there are fewer runners. But with thousands running the half marathon, the "traffic jam" is a major problem. For example, if runners were sent along Highway 93 south, the Bitterroot Trail isn't wide enough to accommodate everyone, especially early in the race.

But Drobeck is determined to use whatever solution is necessary if the bridge remains closed.

"We will run regardless. Bridge or no bridge."


Gallery Credit: KC

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