BIGFORK — An iconic sight in Bigfork -- the historic single-lane bridge that crosses over the Swan River -- will soon be replaced due to concerns over the structure’s current stability and safety.
“It will look and appear and have just as must charm as the current one, but it will be updated to current specifications,” Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Project Engineer Lenci Kappes told MTN News.
MDT officials are out ground surveying the historic Bigfork bridge this week coming up with a strategic plan for the beginning of construction. Kappes said the bridge built in 1911 is not currently strong enough to allow emergency vehicles and larger trucks to pass through.
“We know that it’s such a big part of the Bigfork community, we just need to upgrade that bridge to current specifications,” said Kappes.
Kappes said the new bridge will look identical to the current one, sitting at 120 feet made of steel consisting of a single lane with a shared walkway. He said construction on the project isn’t slated to start until 2024, taking roughly six months to complete.
“We’re not expecting to be in there until 2024 and that gives us a lot of time for more public involvement and feedback from the community, so MDT is really looking forward to making this bridge safer and moving the community of Bigfork forward, so we’re viewing this as a huge opportunity,” Kappes tells MTN News.
This bridge is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.