HUNGRY HORSE – Less than two years after starting construction, the Montana Department of Transportation is ready to open the new bridge over the South Fork of the Flathead River this week.
The new bridge will replace one of the most “used” bridge structures in Western Montana. The existing US 2 bridge over the South Fork of the Flathead has been of concern for years because of it’s aging and condition, but also because of safety.
The bridge and approaches have been narrow and dangerous for years. But the problem has been growing worse over the past decade as tourism and commercial traffic has grown, driven in large part by the increasing visitor count at Glacier National Park.
The new bridge, which has been built alongside, eliminates those problems.
“You know, that bridge was built in the 1930s, and it’s seen better days,” said MDT Missoula District Engineer Ed Toavs. “But now we have a nice update, brand new structure with a shared use path along the length of the project which has some incredibly nice and pristine views. Plus we have the walking path on the bridge to allow that connectivity. So I think that will be a lot of use because that will connect directly to Glacier National Park.”
On Tuesday, MDT officials and community leaders will gather at noon for the official ribbon-cutting for the new South Fork Bridge. Parking will be available starting at 11 a.m at the western end of the bridge.
The Hungry Horse and Martin City Fire Departments are using the opening for a fundraiser, with the winner of a raffle having the honor of being the first to drive across the new bridge.