MISSOULA - Crews were busy overnight Thursday moving tons of iron around for the new Beartracks Bridge in downtown Missoula.
Contractors got to work around 8 p.m. Thursday on the first shift of major construction on the bridge since last fall. All traffic was closed down, with the exception of the pedestrian crossing on the west side.
That gave crews room to begin moving around the huge iron "i beams", which are needed to finish the upstream side of the bridge deck that's been waiting for completion during the winter.
The beams had already been placed on the bridge, and workers used a couple of cranes to move each one onto a boom truck. Then that truck was driven forward in the finished lane, where the beam was then placed over the wall where it will be fastened in place.
It's expected the contractor will continue the pouring of the concrete deck on that half of the rebuilt bridge in the next few weeks. The state still hopes to get the project done later this spring or early summer.
Meanwhile, the temporary load limit on the bridge has been increased to 21 tons.