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Historic Bigfork bridge closed for survey work

Historic Bridge Street Bridge will eventually be replaced
Bridge Street Bridge
Bridge Street Bridge Bigfork
Posted at 8:16 AM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 10:46:59-04

BIGFORK - Work is being done on a historic bridge in downtown Bigfork bringing closures throughout the week.

The historic Bridge Street Bridge which spans the Swan River connecting Bigfork to Highway 35 will be closed until Thursday as crews conduct a geotechnical survey, drilling around the bridge’s foundation collecting information on the soil and rock in the area.

Bigfork Bridge
The Bridge Street Bridge in Bigfork will closed to traffic until Thursday, March 31, 2022.

“So, we will be starting on the southwest side here on Monday and then will be transitioning to the northeast side on Thursday,” said Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Bridge Engineer Lenci Kappes.

Kappes said the bridge needs to be replaced due to concerns over the structure’s current stability and safety. He noted the bridge is not currently strong enough to allow emergency vehicles and larger trucks to pass through.

“110 years old we’re worried about corrosion and long-term driveability of this bridge so; we’re going to upgrade this so all vehicles can safely get across it and most importantly those emergency vehicles will be able to,” added Kappes.

Bridge Street Bridge Bigfork
Plane call for replacing the historic Bridge Street Bridge in Bigfork in 2024.

Kappes said the new bridge will look identical to the current one, consisting of a single lane and a shared walkway. And if all goes as planned, the construction of the new bridge will begin in 2024.

“Of course, there’s always things like budget and contractor availability and a lot of other unforeseen things that can come up and change that,” added Kappes.

Once construction on the bridge begins, Kappes said the project will take roughly six months to complete.