MISSOULA – The project is still a couple of years away, but the Montana Department of Transportation and the City of Missoula are starting to gather people’s ideas on what a newer Higgins Avenue Bridge should look like.
The bridge is one of the key crossings over the Clark Fork River, providing a vital link between Downtown Missoula and all of the commercial and residential neighborhoods to the south. But the present bridge, like the other spans across the river, is showing its age and is in line for a complete rebuild.
Initially, MDT is proposing a bridge that’s very similar to the recent rebuild of the Madison Street Bridge, with wider sidewalks, a new deck and features to help pedestrian and bicycle traffic. In fact, because the Madison project was completed sooner than planned, it’s actually moved the Higgins project on the state’s construction schedule.
“Because it was accelerated it opened up some funding in our statewide bridge program which allowed Higgins to slip into 2020," said MDT District Engineer Ed Toavs. "So we’re working with the City of Missoula on that configuration of what Higgins will look like. And one of the key aspects for the public is, the sidewalks or side areas will be widened significantly.”
Wednesday, MDT and city officials will explain what’s ahead for the project, answer questions and hear suggestions on the Higgins Bridge replacement. That runs from 3 until 8 pm at the Wilma Theater.