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Missoula County commissioners get answers on South Avenue Bridge project

Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 20:01:21-05

HELENA – Missoula County commissioners are told the county could be “on the hook” for a $1 million if they were to decide to completely shelve current plans for a new South Avenue Bridge.

But state and federal officials tell the board it’s “appropriate” for the county to ask questions about the long-running project.

Last month, commissioners placed a “hold” on the plans to replace the old Maclay Bridge with an entirely new bridge on South Avenue. The new board was trying to figure out the status of the project, what the county’s role in the project is, and whether its too late to change any of the plans.

During a meeting in Helena Wednesday, Montana Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration apprised the county of the work that’s been done over the past five or six years, explaining any changes at this point should be worked out with the consultants who’ve been shepherding the project.

“I feel like we really gained some clarity and I want to give some props to the folks from MDT and FHWA,” said Missoula County commissioner Josh Slotnick. “They were really forthright, clear and polite and I feel like we did get answers to our questions.”

The state and federal officials encouraging county commissioners to review their questions with the consultants, including any changes to the South Avenue Bridge project. Slotnick says that will be the next step for the board.