NewsMissoula County


Missoula's Northside Pedestrian Bridge remains closed; 'extensive' repairs needed'

Officials hope to start construction in early 2023
Northside Missoula Pedestrian Bridge
Posted at 9:36 AM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 09:43:20-04

MISSOULA - City officials have announced that Missoula's Northside Pedestrian Bridge will remain closed due to safety concerns.

The structure was closed on Sept. 30 and engineers were hired to determine the extent of the damage and to come up with a solution to repair the popular crossing.

Mayor Jordan Hess says re-opening the bridge is a top priority for Missoula, "this is an important transportation corridor in Missoula. We recognize that and take it very seriously."

Once engineering consultants complete their analysis and renovation plans later this year, the City will select a construction firm to repair the deck and rehabilitate the masonry bridge supports. City officials hope to start construction in early 2023.

In the meantime, there are other routes that can be used while the pedestrian bridge is closed. Detours and alternative route information can be found online at as well as on social media here.

"The Northside Pedestrian Bridge is a go-to for sustainable commuters and an indispensable connection between the Northside and the rest of the city. Now that it is closed for structural repairs, it's important that we provide transportation options," Missoula Bicycle/Pedestrian program manager Ben Weiss said. "As the City learns more about the condition of the Northside Bridge and a schedule for repairs is established, we will continue to provide updates."

Mountain Line’s Route 3 bus service provides hourly service from several Northside locations to the downtown bus transfer station. Real-time route information on Mountain Line's Transit mobile app.

According to a news release, city officials are working with the Montana Department of Transportation to ensure lighting and sidewalks are in good condition at the Orange Street Underpass. Additionally, police plan to increase patrols in the area until people get used to the new routes.

Parks and Recreation crews will prioritize the Orange St. underpass for snow removal and ice melt this winter. City officials are also looking at improving crosswalks and commuter visibility at several intersections along the detour routes.

“Despite consistent maintenance and inspections, it was impossible to predict when or how quickly conditions would change to necessitate emergency closure of the 23-year-old structure,” Missoula Parks and Recreation Systems & Services Superintendent David Selvage noted.

"The bridge opened in 1999. Contractors performed minor repairs and cyclical maintenance on the deck in 2010. When we recognized accelerated deck pan rusting in 2016, we hired engineers and construction experts from HDR, Inc. to inspect the bridge and develop cost estimates for repair and rehabilitation. The additional analysis helped us evaluate bridge safety and develop the project funding request," Selvage said.

Funding to repair the bridge was approved in late 2020.

"In 2021, just as we were about to solicit construction bids for the bridge deck repairs, engineers noted newly developed cracks in the masonry bridge supports. The bid process was suspended to investigate the damaged bridge supports and develop a remediation plan," Selvage noted. "Meanwhile, those failures combined with the rapidly deteriorating bridge deck caused engineers to recommend immediate closure of the structure to protect public safety."

Selvage says engineers at HDR, Inc. do not recommend temporarily shoring the bridge decks due to the extent and rate of deterioration. He added that plans for the deck replacement are complete, and engineers are working to develop a solution for the masonry damage.

The City hopes to select a contractor this winter so construction can begin as soon as weather conditions allow. The bridge will remain closed until repairs are completed.

Approximately $900,000 in Park District funding for the project has been allocated, but the cost of the additional repairs has not yet been determined. City officials will explore all funding options, including grants, state and federal transportation programs, and other applicable programs and sources to cover additional costs, the release states.