MISSOULA — State engineers say the weather is making a big difference with completion of Missoula's largest construction project, and that the full Russell Street Bridge should be open for traffic this spring.
Although there have been periods of cold, the Montana Department of Transportation says Dick Anderson Construction and the other contractors have been taking advantage of the generally mild weather to finish the final, downstream section of the new bridge.
All the steel rebar is down for the new deck, and crews are setting the plywood forms to prepare for concrete to be poured, starting this coming week.
"Yeah, the mild weather's really helped. It's really given Dick Anderson a chance to really push and do a great job to help get things done a little earlier in the spring," said John Schmidt with the MDT. "If everything goes right and the weather cooperates with us we should be open to full traffic, all four lanes, in mid-April, possibly May."
A lot will depend on the temperature, which needs to be above freezing to ensure the concrete is strong and ready for decades of service. The bridge deck is currently being covered in plastic to keep ice and snow from forming, complicating the pour.