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Contract approved, Higgins Avenue Bridge construction set to begin

Higgins Avenue Bridge
Higgins Bridge
Higgins Bridge
Posted at 1:15 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 21:07:38-04

MISSOULA — A contract has been awarded for the stalled Higgins Street Bridge project.

The Montana Transportation Commission has voted to award the $16.5 million contract to Sletten Construction. Work on the downtown Missoula construction project will most likely get underway in October and last through most of 2021.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) anticipates the work will be fully wrapped up in the spring of 2022, after final striping, painting, and paving have been completed.

“While we had hoped to be under construction already, MDT went back to the contracting community and our partners to develop a better schedule,” Bob Vosen, Missoula District Administrator said. “This allowed us to mitigate risks for the contractor while also keeping the needs of the traveling public and the downtown community in mind.”

Subcontractors will soon be performing survey work and outreach to the adjacent landowners with MDT stating that no disruptions to traffic are anticipated.

Beginning in October, crews will start working on the southbound lanes of the Higgins Avenue Bridge and one lane of traffic in each direction will use the northbound lanes of the bridge. MDT states in a news release that the first phase is anticipated to last from October 2020 through May 2021.

Once the southbound section of the bridge has been completed, traffic will be swapped to the newly completed segment of the bridge while crews construct the northbound lanes.

The second phase will run from May 2021 through December 2021 with a goal of having both lanes of the bridge complete by the end of calendar year 2021 and to complete final paving, painting and striping work in the spring of 2022.

“We truly want to thank Missoulians, business owners, and travelers for their support,” Vosen said. “We know not having the bridge under construction sooner was frustrating, but we are fully confident this is a better schedule and look forward to delivering a new Higgins Avenue Bridge by the end of next year.”

MDT will provide additional information once the public as the contract and schedule are finalized.

The original bid for the Higgins Avenue Bridge was not accepted by the Montana Transportation Commission on December 20, 2019. At that time, the sole bid submitted for the project was $37.7 million, more than double MDT’s estimate of nearly $16.7 million.

State transportation officials note that the Higgins Avenue Bridge is still structurally sound and delays in the construction schedule pose no risk to the traveling public.

Click here for more information on the Higgins Avenue Bridge project.